World Rice Prices Ease as FAO Food Price Index Falls in February

World food prices in February fell 0.6 percent from January and were also down 18.7 percent from their peak in March, the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) said Friday.
The agency said the decline in the FAO Food Price Index reflected lower prices for vegetable oils and dairy products that more than offset sharply higher sugar prices.
“International rice prices eased by 1.0 percent due to a slowdown in trading activities in most major Asian exporters,” a statement said.
In its monthly cereal brief, also released Friday, the FAO raised its global forecast for rice output this calendar year by 4.9 million tonnes to 517 million tonnes — 1.5 percent below the record high in 2021 but still above average.
The FAO said expectations for a decline in India’s rice output had been reversed by assessments of a “more contained impact” of uneven monsoon rains and a “pronounced increase” in secondary crop plantings that have just concluded.
“Output was also upgraded for several other countries, most notably Sri Lanka and Thailand,” it said.
The agency raised its forecast for world rice stocks at the close of 2022/23 by 1.9 million tonnes to 194 million tonnes — 0.8 percent below their 2021/22 record and their second highest level on record.
“Drawdowns in rice importing countries look set to be partly offset by a further increase in carry-overs by exporters,” it said.
International trade in rice this calendar year is forecast at 53 million tonnes, 5.6 percent below the 2022 peak.
The FAO said export forecasts had been raised for India but lowered for Pakistan and Thailand.
Despite uncertainties over India’s ban on broken rice exports, supplies of other qualities of rice in India “look set to remain ample,” the FAO said.
“This could keep Indian overall exports abundant in 2023, likely displacing some shipments by Pakistan and Thailand.”

Source: Agence Kampuchea Presse

Booyoung Seeking Investment Opportunities in Infrastructure and Transport in Cambodia

Delegation of Booyoung Co., Ltd., led by its Chairman Dr. Lee Joong Keun, is seeking opportunities of investment in infrastructure and transport sector in Cambodia.
The visiting delegation was received by H.E. Sun Chanthol, Senior Minister and Minister of Public Works and Transport, at the ministry office yesterday.
On the occasion, H.E. Sun Chanthol informed his guests about main achievements of the ministry and other major projects such as Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway, the upgrading project of Phnom Penh-Poipet Railway to MRT, construction project of Phnom Penh-Bavet Expressway, and feasibility study of Bassac River Navigation and Logistics System (BRNLS) project.
For his part, Dr. Lee Joong Keun commended the remarkably rapid progress and development of Cambodia, especially in infrastructure and transport sector, with full peace and political stability.
The representative of Booyoung delegation also took the chance to thank H.E. Minister for the meeting to discuss and learn more about investment opportunities in the above-said area.

Source: Agence Kampuchea Presse

Cambodia’s Insurance Industry Maintains Growth in 2022

The Cambodian insurance sector in Cambodia continued to grow, with insurance premiums increasing by 10.6 percent to US$331.8 million in gross premium in 2022, a report by the Insurance Regulator of Cambodia (IRC) showed.
General insurance accounted for 58.4 percent of total premiums, with life insurance commanding a 39.9 percent share, followed well behind by micro insurance at 1.7 percent.
Gross premium revenues for general insurance rose by 12.6 percent to US$193.8 million and life insurance premiums totaled US$132.3 million, an increase of 7 percent, read the report.
Premiums for micro insurance reached US$5.7 million, up 35.3 percent from 2021.
Insurers paid out a total of US$46.5 million in gross claim in 2022, an increase of 2.16 percent over 2021.
There are 18 general insurers, 14 life insurers, seven micro-insurance companies and one reinsurance firm in Cambodia.
According to the report, the Kingdom’s insurance market currently has a total asset value of approximately US$977 million, up 14.8 percent year-on-year.

Source: Agence Kampuchea Presse

Cambodia: Market & Seasonal Monitoring Update – January 2023

One year into the Ukraine conflict, the war and sanctions imposed on Russia continue to have major implications on global food and energy markets as both countries are significant exporters of grains (especially wheat and barley), agricultural fertilizers (such as potassium, nitrogen, phosphorus); and Russia is a major global producer and exporter of crude oil and natural gas.
In January 2023, the FAO global food price index continued decreasing after peaking in March 2022, down by -0.8% month-on-month (MoM) and by -3.2% year-on-year (YoY), driven by a drop in global prices for vegetable oil, dairy, and sugar.
Global economic growth is projected at 2.9% for 2023 which is below the pre-COVID-19 pandemic historical average. The economic slowdown will likely lead to weakening demand and result in declining commodity prices (i.e., energy, agriculture and metal) in 2023 and 2024, but prices will remain at historically high levels compared to their average over the past five years.
Access fertilizer has improved somewhat as prices decreased 40% since peaking in early 2022 – but they are still above the historical average. Global agricultural production prices are expected to decrease by 5% in 2023, yet they will remain higher than in the past. While lower costs for agricultural inputs brighten the prospects for global food production, climate change and uncertainty surrounding the Russia-Ukraine war continue to impose risks on global food prices.
The global food crisis has been partially aggravated by food trade restrictions put in place by countries to increase domestic supply and reducing prices.
As of 11 February 2023, 23 countries have instigated 28 food export bans, and 6 have implemented 5 exportlimiting measures.
This does not happen in isolation. COVID-19-induced negative impacts on household income and demand have resulted in global supply chain bottlenecks, rising inflation, and record debt in many countries, disrupting the economic recovery from the pandemic. Evidence points to an unstable food security situation among Cambodian households, particularly for the most vulnerable and those living in flood-prone areas.
In the Asia Pacific, Cambodia is among the countries most exposed to rising energy prices owing to its comparatively high net fuel imports relative to GDP, limited domestic access to electricity, and reliance on fossil fuels. In fact, soaring oil prices coupled with a cyclical economic slowdown in the US and China, Cambodia’s largest trading partners, are key factors dampening economic growth in Cambodia, which is projected at 5.2% for 2022 and 5.6% for 2023.
To understand how these shocks are impacting food availability and access to markets in Cambodia, the World Food Programme (WFP) together with the Agricultural Marketing Office (AMO) monitors the retail and wholesale prices of key food commodities as well as market functionality in 56 urban and rural markets across the country (see Methods section). Market chiefs are also interviewed to assess market functionality, including supply and demand issues. An average of around 1,000 traders and market chiefs are called every two weeks.
Summary Key Findings
In January 2023, the cost of the WFP basic food basket (BFB) continued dropping after peaking in October last year, amid declining global food, fertilizer, and fuel prices. The cost of the BFB was USD 25.9, down by 2.3% compared to the previous month (month-on-month, MoM), but still 2.9% higher than during the same period previous year (year-on-year, YoY). The cost of the BFB continued to be lower in rural areas at USD 25.2 (-2.2% MoM) as compared to urban areas USD 26.5 (-1.9% MoM).
Prices of most key food commodities in the basket remained stable or declined in January, including for duck eggs (-5.3% MoM), morning glory (-12.4% MoM), pork (-0.7% MoM), vegetable oil (-4.7% MoM), mixed rice (+1.6% MoM) and snakehead fish (+1.1% MoM). Easing food prices were linked to easing prices for fuel and agricultural inputs. Cambodia’s official imports of fertilizer picked up notably in January (by 27.3% YoY). As a result, prices of most food commodities approximated previous year’s levels, except for duck eggs (+15.4% YoY) and snakehead fish (+11.6% YoY) which remain significantly higher.
After a high in November market functionality deteriorated slightly, driven by unreliable price stability-predictability and insufficient quantities of essential goods, linked to increased consumer demand during the Chinese New Year holidays and declining fuel prices.
As of January 2023, dry season rice cultivation exceeded the national targets due to favourable rainfall conditions and water for irrigation being sufficiently available. However, the price of diesel, which is important to agricultural production, and agricultural fertilizer remained relatively high (+15.1% YoY).

Source: World Food Programme

Cambodia, IFAD Sign ASPIRE-AT Agreement to Improve Livelihoods of Cambodian Farmers

Cambodia and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have entered into a Cooperation Financing Agreement on Agriculture Services Programme for an Inclusive Rural Economy and Agricultural Trade (ASPIRE-AT) to improve the livelihoods of rural Cambodian households.

The Agreement worth US$194-million was inked between H.E. Vongsey Vissoth, Minister Delegate Attached to the Prime Minister and Permanent Secretary of State for the Ministry of Economy and Finance, and Mr. Alvaro Lario, President of IFAD, at the IFAD headquarters in Rome, Italy early this week.

The cooperation financing, to be given to producer organisations and agricultural SMEs, will give benefits to 100,000 smallholder farmers and 25,000 landless/poor families who have potential to take advantages from both domestic and export markets for agricultural products and livestock.

The programme will focus on business partnership, access to credit and market, and capacity building for beneficiaries to make them more competitive.

ASPIRE-AT is an ambitious project that reflects the Royal Government of Cambodia’s strong commitment to developing and modernising small-scale agriculture and to ensuring that they are more effective, productive, environmentally sustainable and climate resilient, with better connection to markets and six production chains such as vegetables, chickens, cassava, cashew nuts, fresh fruits, and processed fruits.

ASPIRE-AT is the 11th project under IFAD’s financing framework. As of the beginning of this year, IFAD has provided a total of US$304 million in cooperation financing, and has been contributing to rural economic development, food security, poverty reduction, and climate resilience, particularly training and outreach to farmers about more efficient use of technology and market access.

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press