WINNIPEG, Manitoba/BEIJING (Reuters) – Canadian canola prices have soared to the highest in nearly two years, despite a diplomatic dispute between Ottawa and Beijing, as exporters find roundabout ways to reach top oilseed buyer China.
A deer feeds in a western Canadian canola field which are in full bloom this week before it will be harvested later this summer in rural Alberta, Canada July 23, 2019. REUTERS/Todd Korol
Chinese authorities have since March 2019 blocked canola shipments by two Canadian exporters, an action they took after Canadian police detained a Huawei Technologies executive in late 2018 on a United States warrant.
The dispute however, has not spoiled China’s appetite for canola, which is mainly processed into vegetable oil. While China is buying less from Canada directly, it has bought canola oil instead from Europe and the United Arab Emirates, with some of that oil made from Canadian canola, traders said.
ICE canola futures RSc1 on Tuesday hit the highest nearby price since October 2018. Prices of China’s rapeseed oil, another name for canola oil, have also rallied, partly because of limited Canadian supply.
“Profits are extravagant. Anyone who has the resources to import (canola oil) will definitely buy,” said a manager with a China-based canola importer.
“It is like gold oil now.”
Canadian canola exports to China fell 45% year over year during the 11-month period through June, however total canola exports have jumped 9%, helped by a tripling of sales to France and double the shipments to the UAE.
Canada is the world’s biggest canola producer, and the yellow-flowering plant earned farmers C$8.6 billion ($6.42 billion) last year, the most of any crop.
China meanwhile boosted canola oil imports from Europe, Russia and Australia, with some of that oil made from Canadian canola, said another China-based trader.
The price rally left farmer Mary-Jane Duncan-Eger, who grows canola near Regina, Saskatchewan, “super-mystified,” considering that Canada is heading for a bumper crop.
To lock in high prices, she pre-sold 50% of her anticipated harvest, up from the 30% she usually pre-sells at this time of year.
“I’m pretty happy. As long as someone is buying it, I don’t care who.”
Global canola oil demand has prompted Canadian crushers – who include Archer Daniels Midland Co (ADM.N) and Bunge Ltd (BG.N) – to process canola at a brisk pace, said Brian Comeault, commodity risk manager with Cargill Ltd’s [CARGIL.UL] Canadian marketing service MarketSense.
GRAPHIC: China edible oils prices – here
Exporters are also selling more seed to the UAE, where crushers produce oil to sell to China, he said.
Bad crop weather and insect attacks in Europe have also lifted prices.
Rapeseed production in the European Union and Britain is expected near the 13-year low seen in 2019.
This has led European importers to scour other countries for supplies, especially those with weaker currencies that make purchases more profitable, consultancy Strategie Grains said in a report.
“Canadian canola has the biggest edge,” it said. “Competition among importing countries will probably be fierce over the coming months.”
GRAPHIC: Canadian canola exports – here
GRAPHIC: China rapeseed oil futures prices – here
Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Hallie Gu in Beijing, Gus Trompiz in Paris and Michael Hogan in Hamburg; Editing by Marguerita Choy
Canada signs deal to secure 20M more COVID-19 vaccine doses, though none have been proven successful yet – CBC.ca
Canada has signed an agreement to secure another 20 million vaccine doses as the global race for a COVID-19 vaccine intensifies.
During a news conference in Ottawa today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a deal with AstraZeneca on access to a vaccine prospect now being developed at Oxford University. As a result, the federal government has now secured access to six leading vaccine candidates. None of the candidates have been proven to work so far.
“We’ve been guided by science since the very beginning and right now, both the COVID-19 vaccine task force and the immunity task force are doing important work to help us identify the most promising vaccine options and strategies,” he said.
There is no approved vaccine yet for COVID-19, though there are many in clinical trials and in development. Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand said the global market is “intense and unpredictable.”
“Each supplier and therefore each negotiation is unique, with its own set of concerns,” she said. “The resulting agreements contain terms specifying the quantity, the price, the anticipated delivery schedule, the manufacturing and finishing parameters for each vaccine.
“When a vaccine is ready, Canada will be ready.”
The federal government already has reached vaccine agreements with Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Novavax, Pfizer and Moderna, for a total of 282 million doses.
Full payments to drug companies are contingent on the vaccines passing clinical trials and obtaining regulatory approval.
Health Canada says it will review the evidence on safety, efficacy and manufacturing quality for each vaccine to determine if individual vaccines will be approved for use in Canada before they are made available to Canadians.
Government buying syringes, swabs, needles
The government is also procuring equipment and supplies needed for vaccine manufacturing and packaging, as well as immunization equipment such as syringes, needles and alcohol swabs.
Trudeau also announced that Canada will provide $440 million to COVAX, a global procurement initiative meant to ensure fair, equitable and timely access to vaccines for less wealthy countries.
“This pandemic can’t be solved by any one country alone because to eliminate the virus anywhere, we need to eliminate it everywhere,” Trudeau said.
The U.S. is not participating in the global COVAX project.
Trudeau said the fact that 190 countries are participating — some as contributors, others as recipients — shows that “the world is coming together.”
“Unfortunately, there are a few large countries that have decided not to participate, but I can assure you that the number of countries that have stepped up and participated like Canada is ensuing that we’re going a long way towards having a vaccine accessible for the most vulnerable around the world, which is essential as we move forward to get past this pandemic,” he said.
Rapid test in the works
With frustratingly long waits for COVID-19 tests still the norm in some parts of the country, the federal government is under increasing pressure to approve rapid testing options. Asked about the holdup today, Trudeau said Health Canada accelerated the process to evaluate testing measures this spring.
“But at the same time we have to make sure that every step of the way we are not compromising science or the safety of Canadians,” he said.
Earlier this week, Tam warned that Canada is at a “crossroads” in its pandemic battle and said the actions of individual Canadians will decide whether there will be a massive spike in COVID-19 cases.
Modelling shows the epidemic is accelerating nationally, with projections that cases could climb to more than 5,000 daily by October. If Canadians don’t step up preventative measures, the virus could spread out of control and trigger a wave of infections bigger than the first one, Tam said.
The following day, Trudeau delivered a rare address to the nation with a similar message. He warned that infections could surge and urged Canadians to do their part to prevent transmission by following public health guidelines on masks, gatherings and physical distancing.
Averting a COVID-19 vaccination crisis will take careful communication – The Verge
President Donald Trump’s relentless talk about interference with the COVID-19 vaccine approval process is setting the stage for a vaccination crisis. Even before a vaccine has been approved, public health experts are watching as confidence in a hypothetical vaccine plummets — and they’re already trying to figure out how to win back the public’s trust.
In May, 72 percent of people said that they would get vaccinated, according to a Pew Research Center survey. By September, only half of people said that they would. That drop ispartly driven by the swirling drama around the still-unproven vaccines. Data and study protocols that normally wouldn’t draw much attention are subject to intense scrutiny.
Now, many people who are normally comfortable with vaccines say that they’re worried. They think the process is being driven by politics, not science. They’re concerned that the Trump administration is pressuring federal agencies to authorize a vaccine before there’s enough testing to show that it’s safe or that it works.
It’s still early days, and vaccine development is still in progress. It seems to be unfolding appropriately — at least so far — and it’s still too soon to say what might happen after initial data from the trials is released by pharmaceutical companies. But the drop-off in confidence before a vaccine is available still concerns public health experts. A vaccine won’t be able to help protect people if they don’t take it. If too many people refuse, the population won’t be able to build herd immunity.
Fortunately, there will likely be a long lag between vaccine authorization and the time when most people will actually have the option to get a vaccine. That gives experts room to analyze the data and, if it’s warranted, alleviate some of those fears, says Melanie Kornides, an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing who studies vaccine hesitancy. They’ll probably handle it similar to how they handle parents who are scared of the measles vaccine. “We need to address people’s concerns, and talk about the benefits of vaccination,” she told The Verge.
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.
How warranted are those fears around a politically motivated push to bring a vaccine out too quickly?
I think that we need to remember that a vaccine hasn’t come out yet, and that’s because they haven’t finished safety and efficacy testing. If people are concerned that it’s maybe being pushed through too fast, that hasn’t played out yet because we don’t have a vaccine. I think that we can be confident in communicating that scientists and pharmaceutical companies are taking the right approach of balancing safety and efficacy testing with wanting to end a very dangerous and deadly pandemic as quickly as possible.
Is there a difference between hesitancy around a COVID-19 vaccine and the hesitancy around childhood vaccinations, like the measles vaccine?
I think that there are actually a lot of similarities between the hesitancy that we’re seeing around the COVID-19 vaccine and the normal vaccine hesitancy that we see around childhood vaccinations. As I’m looking at things that people are saying on social media about the COVID-19 vaccine, we see a lot of the same things that people tend to express about childhood vaccination. Those include worries that it’s not effective or worries about unknown, long-term side effects. There are worries that it’s pushed through for commercial profit or to make the government look better. And to some extent, we see with childhood vaccinations this belief that natural immunity might be safer and better, and we’re seeing a little bit of that too with the COVID vaccine.
But the big difference is that this is much more widespread. Many people are saying that they normally get vaccinated and they normally accept vaccines, but they have particular concerns about this vaccine.
Have we seen similar things before, when people who are usually comfortable with vaccines balk at one?
My research before this was really focused on hesitancy around the HPV vaccine. It’s really similar because, like the COVID vaccine, a lot of parents that choose not to vaccinate their children for HPV are not anti-vaxxers. They just say they have these worries that maybe the HPV vaccine wasn’t thoroughly tested, or they’ve seen something on Instagram or Twitter saying that there have been negative side effects that are being taken seriously. You get these parents who are hesitant but, in general, are not anti-vaxxers.
Will the same strategies we use to overcome those worries with HPV vaccines work for a hypothetical COVID-19 vaccine? Are they different from the way you’d talk to someone who is stridently anti-vaccine?
In general, it’s just much harder to convince somebody who has really strong beliefs that vaccinations are dangerous to move over to the pro-vaccine camp. What we do with parents and children is we try to appeal the idea that everybody cares about their child and wants what’s best for their child. It’s about explaining or making them understand that, even though we don’t see these childhood illnesses anymore, they’re very dangerous, and they’re very deadly.
There’s lots of studies showing that the important thing is the trust in the person who’s giving the information to you. I think with COVID-19, what’s going to be important is making sure that health care providers have been really well-trained in communicating the safety and efficacy and importance of the vaccine. That is what goes a long way.
If most of the people who say they won’t get a COVID-19 vaccine are normally okay with vaccines, does that make it easier to help them understand why they should actually take it?
Absolutely. A lot of it is going to depend on how well the safety and efficacy of the vaccine is communicated through the media, through the pharmaceutical companies, and then also through health care providers. But assuming that we do a good job of that, I think that it will move the needle, and a lot of people that are saying they won’t get vaccinated will move over.
If the worst-case scenario does happen — a vaccine actually does get authorized without scientists feeling confident in the data, and there are negative side effects — what might happen?
I think that would definitely be damaging. We have had instances where vaccines have been pulled from the market because they weren’t as safe as the initial safety data suggested. When that happens, it’s usually that the number of negative outcomes is small, but on a population-level, you want to prevent that.
Ideally, hopefully, they’ll have several vaccines around the same time — so if one has to be pulled, the others will continue to be safe and effective.
Feds pledge $440 million to join international vaccine program – CTV News
Canada will spend $440 million to join an international program which is trying ensure COVID-19 vaccines aren’t just hoarded by rich countries, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.
But Canada is spending more than twice that to gain private access to millions of doses of some of the most promising vaccines in development. That includes a sixth deal announced Friday with AstraZeneca for up to 20 million doses of its vaccine candidate, which is in the third and final phase of clinical trials.
The federal government has committed more than $1 billion to buying vaccines for Canada, much of which is not refundable even if the vaccines are never approved.
Trudeau also unveiled Canada’s financial commitment for the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility, known as COVAX.
Canada is among 64 high-income countries that have committed to joining COVAX.
Canada is joining both parts of the initiative: one which secures access to millions of doses of vaccines for Canada, and the other which has wealthier nations pooling their funds to help lower and middle-income countries secure doses as well.
The $440 million is split equally between the two parts, with half securing 15 million doses of vaccines for Canada from COVAX, and the other half going to help poorer countries get doses as well.
“Canadians must have access to a safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19 no matter where it is developed,” Trudeau said at a news conference in Ottawa.
But he said to eliminate the virus in Canada, it also needs to be eliminated around the world.
The Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research and the Canadian Society for International Health have both criticized Canada for acting to buy doses of vaccine for itself, saying it hinders efforts to ensure successful vaccines are distributed fairly around the world.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 25, 2020.
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