Several political changes concerning biofuel markets were finalised in the course of 2015. In Brazil, the taxation system was amended to favour hydrous ethanol rather than gasohol and the mandatory anhydrous ethanol blending ratio was increased from 25% to 27%.
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Given the early prospects in world cereal output for this season, weak demand and large inventories in 2016, global markets are likely to experience relatively low prices.
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The world cotton market experienced dramatic developments in the first half of the 2015 marketing year caused by an acute drop in production – about 9% – in major producing countries. Worldwide cotton production has not declined this much since 2008. This unexpected drop in production led to releases of stocks; however, total world stocks still remain at a very high level.
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International prices of all dairy products continued to decline from their 2013 peak, in particular for skim milk powder (SMP) and whole milk powder (WMP). A key factor was the decline in Chinese import demand, with demand for WMP dropping by 34% from 2014 levels.
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During 2015, the global fishery and aquaculture sector showed sustained growth in overall production and consumption. In 2014, aquaculture’s contribution to total fish supplied for food overtook that of wild fish for the first time and this trend continued in 2015.
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Weaker demand for meats by emerging economies and oil exporting countries throughout 2015 exerted significant downward pressure on meat prices. According to the FAO Meat Price Index, meat prices in 2015 fell to a level last seen in early 2010. This fall contrasts with an extended period of continued, though at times volatile, meat price increases that started back in 2002.
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Global soybean production for the 2015 marketing year continued to increase, whereas production of other oilseeds (rapeseed, sunflower seed and groundnuts) declined relative to 2014. Low crude oil and cereal prices put additional pressure on oilseed prices.
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There has been a slowdown in output growth since 2013, and global sugar production is expected to fall by about 5 Mt in 2015. Given steady growth in global consumption, this should put an end to the surplus phase.
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