《经济学人》:食用油产业怎么了?
日期:2011-09-20 11:25

(单词翻译:单击)

Vegetable oil
植物油

What’s cooking?
发生了什么事?

Edible oils are filling fuel tanks as well as bellies
食用油填饱了肚子还要灌满油箱

Sep 17th 2011 | from the print edition

OIL markets are full of uncertainty. Asian demand is booming and doubts abound over the ability of supply to match the world’s appetite. What goes for crude oil also applies to the stuff squeezed out of vegetable matter.

石油市场变幻莫测。亚洲国家对石油的需求与日俱增,石油供应能否满足世界需求受到广泛质疑。人们对原油的贪求目光同样落在了植物性物质所压榨出的东西身上。

The price of stir-frying and dressing a salad has rarely been higher. Over the past decade the price of vegetable oils has all but quadrupled. Like other commodities, prices hit records in 2008. The subsequent slump is now forgotten: prices are back close to the peaks. Glencore, the world’s biggest commodity trader, may be about to confirm the industry’s allure: rumours are flying that it is mulling an investment in KS Oils, an Indian edible-oil firm.

炒菜和酱沙拉的价格一直呈高企态势。过去十年间,植物油的价格几乎翻了两翻。与其它商品一样,它的价格在2008年创造了纪录。随后的价格暴跌现已被人们淡忘:现在价格又反弹至高点附近。全球最大商品交易商(瑞士)嘉能可国际公司将向人们证实该行业的吸引力有多强:坊间盛传该公司正在考虑投资印度食用油企业“KS食用油品公司”。

Kona Haque of Macquarie, an Australian bank, points to two structural factors behind oil’s sizzle: China and biodiesels. A planet with more mouths to feed and deeper pockets has led to rapid growth in consumption of vegetable oils as well as grains and meat. And although the rapid surge in demand for oils in China and the rest of Asia is slowing there is still plenty of scope for more growth.

澳大利亚麦格理银行科纳·哈克指出炙手可热的石油业背后存在着两大结构性因素:中国和生物柴油。养活全球众多人口和全球巨大财富导致了植物油、粮食及肉类消耗的快速增长。尽管中国及亚洲其它地区迅速飙升的石油需求正在放缓,但石油的需求增长空间仍然较大。

In the past few years a new source of demand has emerged for vegetable oils. Biodiesel production has rapidly accelerated and now consumes over a tenth of the global vegetable-oil crop. Depending on the crude-oil price and governments’ enthusiasm for mandating biofuels it could account for as much as a fifth by 2020, according to Peter Thoenes of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.

在过去数年间,植物油出现了一种新的用途需求。生物柴油产量快速增长,消耗了全球植物油作物总量的十分之一。联合国粮农组织彼得·梭尼斯表示,受制于原油价格波动及政府热衷于强制使用生物燃油,生物柴油对植物油作物的消耗量到2020年有望达到五分之一。

The effect of growing demand for the two main types of vegetable oil, palm and soya (see chart), is amplified by supply problems. In the case of soya, competition for land is the main concern. Farmers in America, the world’s top exporter, and Brazil, in second place, are switching to maize as sky-high prices make it more attractive.

人们对植物油的两种主要原料棕榈和大豆需求在不断增加,而供应问题却严重影响了此种需求。就大豆而言,如何争取到更多的土地成为问题的关键。由于玉米高昂的价格优势,全球农产品出口居首位的美国及位居第二位的巴西正将目光投向玉米种植。

Palm oil, also used to make soaps and cosmetics, comes almost exclusively from Indonesia and Malaysia. It suffers from even more acute supply problems. Already intensively cultivated and mechanised, there are few opportunities for farmers to increase output by improving yields on existing acreage. Developing and rolling out new higher-yielding strains is much easier and quicker for annual crops like wheat than for perennials such as palm trees that take time to mature and will bear fruit for many years.

生产肥皂和化妆用品的棕榈油几乎都产自于马来西亚和印尼。它所面临的供应问题就更为严重。尽管农民已精耕细作并实现了机械化种植,但仅凭提高现有土地面积的产出已很难让棕榈油产量得到大幅提升。开发和种植新型高产品种对小麦这种一年生作物会有立竿见影的成效,而棕榈树这种多年生植物需要很长时间才能到达成熟期并且数年之内都可产出棕榈油。

Finding more land has unpalatable costs. Environmentalists point out that the spread of palm-oil plantations is the greatest threat to forests in Indonesia and Malaysia. In May Indonesia introduced a two-year moratorium on forest clearance in return for $1 billion, as part of a bilateral climate deal with Norway. But loopholes and exemptions mean that it may not slow down deforestation much. Like its crude counterpart, the march of the vegetable-oil business is not easily resisted.

寻找更多土地的成本代价令人难以接受。环境专家指出棕榈油种植园的扩张成为印尼和马来西亚的森林的最大威胁。作为与挪威双边气候协定的部分内容,五月份,印尼引入两年期森林禁止砍伐计划以获取10亿美元的回报。但由于政策漏洞及豁免规定,该计划对森林砍伐速度可能不会有太大的影响。与石油开发商相同,进军植物油产业的诱惑力难以抵挡。

分享到
重点单词
  • planetn. 行星
  • commodityn. 商品,日用品
  • cultivatedadj. 栽植的,有教养的 动词cultivate的过去
  • moratoriumn. 延期偿付,延期偿付期间
  • scopen. 能力,范围,眼界,机会,余地 vt. 仔细研究
  • allurev. 引诱,吸引 n. 诱惑力,吸引力
  • intensivelyadv. 强烈地;集中地
  • attractiveadj. 有吸引力的,引起注意的
  • threatn. 威胁,凶兆 vt. 威胁, 恐吓
  • surgen. 汹涌,澎湃 v. 汹涌,涌起,暴涨 v. [海]放