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Covid vaccination rates become tool for ag investors

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The astonishing rate of progress on Covid-19 vaccinations, of which more than 213m doses have been administered already according to Bloomberg, may be of more than compassionate interest.

 

It is being monitored by investors too, such as Sucden Financial, which is attempting to get more of a handle on the extent to which stronger vaccination numbers – in implying rapid release from lockdowns, and so improved prospects for economic growth – are influencing markets.

 

“Risk appetite has improved as vaccination rates improve,” the broker says, a factor which is, ironically, boosting interest to many countries for which roll-out has been slower.

 

“Vaccination rates in emerging markets are behind the curve, but we have seen large inflows into emerging markets so far in 2021,” Sucden says.

 

“Higher yields are attracting investors.”

 

Vaccination rate vs coffee prices

These investment flows in turn “should help support local currencies” – a dynamic which for ags dependent on emerging market countries, should provide a boost to prices too.

 

Brazil, the top producer and exporter of coffee and sugar, of course looms large on this score, with firmness in its currency supporting dollar-denominated New York futures values in such contracts.

 

Brazil’s real “has gained ground this year, and we expect risk appetite to drive gains for the currency, in turn benefiting the New York [arabica coffee] contract”, Sucden notes.

 

In fact, the “correlation between the vaccination rate [in Brazil] and New York coffee reached 0.63” in the week to Friday, with that for sugar not far behind.

 

Speculators - so often at odds with coffee producers, but who are currently net long - and humanitarians, may for a while be aligned. Or is that correlated?

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