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El Nino starting to bite in Asia

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Drought from El Nino will cut Thailand's main rice harvest to lowest in nine years. Weather patterns in the next two months will determine how much damage it does.

A farmer walks in a dry rice field in Suphan Buri province July 10. In the central province, farmers are becoming increasingly desperate for water to irrigate their parched fields as the rice-producing nation suffers its worst drought in more than a decade. (Reuters photo)


El Nino starting to bite in Asia

Thai rice crop shrinks; soybeans, wheat, palm down
Bloomberg News

Drought linked to the weather pattern called El Nino will cut Thailand’s main rice harvest to the lowest in nine years. Soybeans sown in the past two weeks in India may be pulled out of the ground without immediate rain, and the outlook is cloudy for Asian palm oil. Australia’s wheat crop may decline.

El Nino risks disrupting harvests worldwide by reducing rainfall in Australia and altering patterns across South America as well as baking parts of Asia. Central Thailand is the driest in more than 20 years and India's monsoon is heading for the first back-to-back shortfall in three decades. The inflation- boosting effect of the first El Nino since 2010 also poses a risk to the global economy, Citigroup Inc says.

A villager walks along a dry canal in Suphan Buri province July 10. (Reuters photo)

"A price spike could be caused by the strengthening of El Nino and worsening of rainfall," said Wayne Gordon, an analyst at UBS Group AG in Singapore, referring to a possible price spike in food costs. Weather patterns in the next two months will be critical, he said. 

El Nino is set to last until 2016 and some data patterns are similar to the record 1997-98 event, according to weather forecasters in Australia and the US. The event is a risk for grains in Asia and Central America and global rice output will be less than previously forecast, the United Nations predicts.

Smaller crops in Asia may help arrest the decline in world food prices that last month reached an almost six-year low amid ample global supply, according to a UN index. Rice, the staple for half the world, sank to the lowest since 2006 in May. Wheat fell to an almost five-year trough the same month.

Farmers stack sandbags into Tharakam canal in an attempt to slow down water flow in Suphan Buri province (Reuters)


Weather disruptions linked to El Nino can already been seen, HSBC Holdings Plc said in a report on Wednesday, citing drought and typhoons. Asia is well-positioned to deal with a strong El Nino due to price buffers, abundant reserves of key commodities and subdued inflationary pressures, it said. 

Thai rice output from the main harvest starting in September may slump 14% to 23.3 million tonnes, the lowest since 2006, according to data from the Office of Agricultural Economics. The harvest accounts for about 70% of annual production in the world's top exporter

"Drought this year is quite severe," said Supaporn Bongsunun, director at the Centre for Agricultural Information. El Nino-induced dryness will lower yields and farmers may curb planting amid unattractive prices, she said.

Pumps line a river bank in Suphan Buri province, but the military is limiting how much water the farmers can take. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)


The pattern may boost palm oil prices to 2,500 ringgit a tonne this year, according to Mohd Emir Mavani Abdullah, chief executive officer of Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd, the largest producer. Prices were at 2,189 ringgit on Wednesday, down 3.4% in 2015 as investors weigh the weather outlook.

In Australia, a classical El Nino pattern would risk reducing the wheat harvest to the smallest in eight years, National Australia Bank Ltd said last month.

A worker unloads palm oil fruits from a lorry inside a palm oil factory in Salak Tinggi, outside Kuala Lumpur. Palm oil producers in the top growers Indonesia and Malaysia are worried about the potential El Nino. (Reuters photo)

Recently sown soybeans in India need rain this week or farmers will need to replace them with lentils, according to VS Bhatia, director of state-owned Directorate of Soybean Research. Dry weather has tempered optimism earlier this season, when rain prompted farmers to plant the oilseed almost a month earlier than in 2014.

Rainfall between July 1 and 12 was almost 30% below normal, weather bureau data show. Below-average rain may also affect the peanut crop in Gujarat, India's largest producer, according to KK Singh, head of agriculture meteorology at the weather bureau.

"Rains in July and August are crucial for the overall agriculture situation," Siddharth Kothari, an economist with Sunidhi Securities & Finance Ltd, said by phone from Mumbai on July 14. "There will be impact on yields if rains fail as sowing has already taken place."


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abundant : more than enough - มากมาย

according to (prep): as stated or reported by somebody/something - ตามคำบอกเล่า, ตามรายงาน

account for : to be a particular amount or part of something -

agricultural (adj): of the science or practice of farming - ที่เกี่ยวกับเกษตรกรรม

agriculture : the science or practice of farming - เกษตรกรรม, การเกษตร

alter : to change - เปลี่ยนแปลง

amid : during the time when something else is happening - ท่ามกลาง

ample : more than enough - มากพอ, เพียงพอ

analyst : a person whose job involves examining facts or materials in order to give an opinion on them - นักวิเคราะห์

annual : happening every year - ทุกๆปีด, ประจำปี

arrest (verb): to stop a process or a development - หยุด, ชะลอ, ทำให้ล่าช้า

average : an amount calculated by adding several amounts together, finding a total, and dividing the total by the number of amounts - เฉลี่ย, ค่าเฉลี่ย

back-to-back : happening one after another, after one finishes the next begins; consecutive - ที่ต่อเนื่องตามลำดับ

baking : making very hot -

boost : to increase - เพิ่ม

buffer : a thing or person that reduces a shock or protects somebody/something against difficulties - ตัวกัน

bureau : a government organisation - สำนักงาน

chief executive officer (CEO) : the person with the highest rank in a company or an organisation - ผู้บริหารสูงสุด, ซีอีโอ (ประธานบริหาร)

cite : to mention something as an example - กล่าวถึง

classical (adj): an old and respected form of art, literature, science, etc. - ที่เป็นแบบดั้งเดิม

commodity : a product or a raw material that can be bought and sold - โภคภัณฑ์

critical : extremely important because a future situation will be affected by it - สำคัญยิ่ง

crop : a plant grown for food, usually on a farm - พืชผล

crucial (adj): extremely important because it effects the result of something - สำคัญยิ่ง

curb : to control or limit something - จำกัดขอบเขต, ควบคุม

data : facts or information, especially when examined and used to find out things or to make decisions - ข้อมูล, ตัวเลข, สถิติ

deal with : to take action to solve a problem - จัดการปัญหา

decades : periods of ten years - เป็นสิบๆปี

decline : becoming less - การลดลง

director : one of a group of senior managers who run a company - กรรมการบริษัท

disrupt : to interrupt something and prevent it from continuing by creating a problem - ได้รับการกระทบกระเทือน  ถูกทำให้หยุดชะงัก

disruption : a situation in which something cannot continue because of a problem - การขัดขวาง, การหยุดชะงัก

drought (noun): a long period of time when there is little or no rain - ฝนแล้ง, ภัยแล้ง, ความแห้งแล้ง)

due to : because of - เนื่องจาก

El Nino : unusually warm ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific -

exporter (noun): a person, company or country that sells goods to another country - ผู้ส่งออก

forecast : a statement about what will happen in the future based on information available now - การพยากรณ์, การคาดการณ์

forecaster : someone whose job is to make a statement about what is likely to happen, especially relating to the weather - นักพยากรณ์(อากาศ)

global : world - เกี่ยวกับโลก

grain : the small hard seeds of food plants such as wheat, rice, etc; a single seed of such a plant - เมล็ดข้าว, เมล็ดพืช

harvest (noun): the activity of collecting a crop - การเก็บเกี่ยวผลผลิต

harvest : to gather in ripe crops - เก็บเกี่ยว

immediate (adj): happening or done now, without any delay - ทันที; ทันทีทันใด

impact (noun): an effect or influence - ผลกระทบ

index : a number that shows the price, value, or level of something compared with something else - ดัชนี

induce : to cause something, especially a mental or physical change - ทำให้เกิด

inflation : a general rise in the prices of services and goods in a particular country, resulting in a fall in the value of money - เงินเฟ้อ

investor : a person or organization that invests money, i.e., uses money with the aim of making a profit from it, for example by buying property or buying shares in a company - นักลงทุน

key : very important - ที่สำคัญ

linked : connected - เชื่อมโยง

meteorology : the scientific study of weather - อุตุนิยมวิทยา

monsoon : the season of heavy rain during the summer in hot Asian countries - มรสุม

normal (adj.): typical, usual or ordinary; what you would expect - ปกติ, ภาวะปกติ

optimism : a tendency to be hopeful and to expect that good things will probably happen - การมองในแง่ดี,ลัทธิความเบิกบานใจ

outlook : an idea about what a situation will be like in the future - อนาคตที่คาดหวังไว้, ทัศนคติ

output : the amount of something produced - ปริมาณ(กระแสไฟฟ้า)ที่ผลิตขึ้น

overall (adj): total; including all the things or people that are involved in a particular situation; general - ทั้งหมด, โดยทั่วไป

pattern : a series of actions or events that together show how things normally happen or are done - แบบฉบับ, แบบแผน

pose : cause something, especially a problem or difficulty - เป็นเหตุให้

predict : to say that an event or action will happen in the future, especially as a result of knowledge or experience - คาดการณ์ว่า พยากรณ์จากสถิติว่า

pressure : a force pressing against something - ความกดดัน

producer : a person, a company or a country that grows or makes food, goods or materials - ผู้ผลิต

production : the process of growing or making food, goods or materials, especially large quantities - การผลิต

prompted (verb): caused - กระตุ้น, ก่อให้เกิด

recently (adverb): not long ago - เมื่อไม่นานมานี้, เมื่อเร็วๆ นี้

record : the best or most ever achieved - สถิติ

reduce : to make something smaller or less in amount, size, importance etc - ลดลง

refer : to mention someone or something - อ้างถึง, อ้างอิง

replace : to change from one thing to another - แทน

reserve : something currently not being used but that can be used when needed - สำรองไว้

ringgit (noun): the currency or money used in Malaysia -

risk : the possibility that something dangerous or unpleasant might happen - ความเสี่ยง

risk : to cause someone or something to be in a dangerous situation - เสี่ยงอันตราย

sank : caused something or someone to go down below the surface or to the bottom of a liquid or soft substance; past tense of "sink" - จม

season (noun): a period of time during the year - ฤดูกาล, ช่วงเวลา, ระยะเวลา

severe : very serious and worrying - ที่รุนแรง ที่น่าเป็นห่วง

shortfall : an amount which is less than the level that was expected or needed - จำนวนที่ขาดไป, ปริมาณที่ขาดไป

situation : all the circumstances and things that are happening at a particular time and in a particular place - สถานการณ์

slump : to fall suddenly - ตกต่ำมาก

sow : to put seeds in or on the ground so that plants will grow - หว่านเมล็ดพืช

sown : seeds put in the ground so that plants will grow - หว่านเมล็ดพืช

soybean : a type of bean that is used instead of meat or animal protein in some types of food - ถั่วเหลือง

spike : a sudden increase - การพุ่งพรวดขึ้น

staple : an important product, especially a food, that people eat or use regularly - อาหารหลัก, สินค้าหลัก

subdued : not very loud or bright - เงียบ, เงียบสงบ

supply (noun): an amount or quantity of something that is available to buy or use - อุปทาน

take place : to happen - เกิดขึ้น

temper : to make something less strong or extreme, especially by adding something that has the opposite effect - ทำให้บรรเทาหรือน้อยลง

trough (noun): a low point in some statistic or number that changes over time - จุดต่ำสุด

typhoon : a tropical storm with strong winds that move in circles - พายุไต้ฝุ่น

unattractive : not good, interesting or pleasant - ไม่ดึงดูดใจ, ไม่น่าสนใจ,น่าเบื่อหน่าย

weigh : to consider something carefully before making a decision - ชั่งน้ำหนัก, พิจารณา

well-positioned : in a good situation to deal with something; prepared to deal with .... -

worldwide : throughout the world - ทั่วโลก

yield : an amount of something produced - ผลผลิต


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