S&P Global Platts, the benchmark pricing and analytic company for energy and commodities, is expanding its agro commodity tracking business.
S&P Global Platts, acquired Live Rice Index (LRI), a global provider of information and benchmark price assessments for the rice industry, earlier this year. It now employs over 50 people in that sector, across pricing, news and analytics, including a dedicated agriculture team in Gurugram.
The company already has more than half its global employees in India. “We have expanded our presence in India because of the increasing opportunity we see here. We are developing capabilities here so that we can source best people,” Martin Fraenkel, president, S&P Global Platts, told Business Standard in an interview. India offers the advantage of being in the middle of the time zone and can service both Europe and Asia.
The LRI buy-out expanded Platts portfolio of agricultural price assessments while extending its data and news coverage in key export regions for international grains.
Founded in 2011, LRI was the leading price reporting agency (PRA) in the global rice industry. Through the LRI buy, Platts offers rice price assessments, news and analysis for rice buyers, sellers, brokers and traders in countries like Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, India, Pakistan, Paraguay, Thailand, Uruguay, the United States and Vietnam. Prior to LRI buy, Platts had price assessments in grains and oilseeds.
Platts has Black Sea Corn and Black Sea Wheat price assessments, following the launch of financially-settled futures and options contracts by the CME Group. These assessments offer market participants hedging opportunities and greater flexibility to mitigate grain price risk throughout the supply chain. According to the company, the derivatives settled on Platts Black Sea wheat and corn indexes, cleared by CME, have traded more than 16 million tonne (mt) since launch, and have a current level of open interest (open contracts) representing more than 1.7 mt.
In the case of India, where agriculture commodities are benchmarked to either government set minimum selling price, or mandi (whole sale market) prices, global benchmarks are not followed. Availability of price assessments in India could help in bringing transparency in agriculture pricing especially for those commodities that are traded.
Platts has been expanding its capabilities in agriculture over the past seven years. The LRI acquisition is part of a multi-year strategic investment to further develop our price-reporting leadership in agriculture markets. It acquired the Kingsman sugar and biofuels business in 2012.
Recently, it beta launched a new Minimum Viable Product (MVP) for Agriculture. This would enable full agriculture service on the Platts platform. The scope includes the content from four of Platts’ pricing and news products; Daily Grains and Oilseeds, Daily Sugar Market Report, EU Sugar Market Report, and the Weekly Global Ethanol report.
“The goal is to convert content from end-of-day or weekly static PDF publications, and convert it them into an interactive and dynamic experience for our customers with prices, news, and market commentary updated throughout the day,” said a company spokesperson.