Global cocoa prices have rallied to 2-1/2-year highs on worries El Niño could return in 2014, while other agricultural commodity markets could also be hit by the specter of the weather anomaly. El ...
The Philippines’ weather bureau already expects rainfall to be “way below” normal by April in most parts of the country, including rice-growing provinces in the Central Luzon region and sugar plantations in the Visayas provinces. El Niño could worsen that.
Previous El Niño episodes caused severe dry spells in the archipelago affecting vast tracts of farmland. A rice shortfall due to typhoons and drought connected to El Niño in 2010 prompted record imports of the national staple.
An El Niño episode usually results in below-average rainfall in main palm oil producers Indonesia and Malaysia, cutting yields and pushing up global prices.
It could also hurt crops in Thailand, one of the world’s largest rice exporters, potentially worsening drought conditions usually seen in March-April.
El Niño would bring milder-than-normal temperatures to the major crop production areas of the U.S. Midwest. Iowa and Minnesota would benefit from the event’s tendency for wetter-than-normal summers as the western Corn Belt continues to recover from a drought. But excessive rains in the saturated soils of the eastern Corn Belt could be troublesome, particularly following this year’s overly snowy winter.
Drought-hit California, a major dairy and wine grape state, could see more rain than normal.
In China, El Niño could bring more rain to areas south of the Yellow River and cause flooding in the country’s major rice and cotton growing regions.
Lower-than-normal temperatures could also occur in the country’s top corn and soy areas in the northeast, leading to frost damage and lower grain output.
A strong El Niño in India would trigger lower production of summer crops such as rice, sugarcane and oilseeds.