The 2012 heat surpassed 1998’s record by 1 degree, a significant amount considering that only 4 degrees separate 1998 from the coldest year on record, 1917, said Jake Crouch, a climate scientist at the Asheville, North Carolina, center. The warmth is a reflection of natural variability as well as the impact of climate change, he said. Each of the lower 48 states had an annual temperature that was higher than average, said the center. Nineteen set records. Of course in Europe and Asia they would be praying for some warm weather. The cold and below normal temperatures there has been a supporting factor for heating oil.
According to the South China Post, China’s coldest winter in 28 years has damaged some sugarcane crops in the top producing region of the world’s second largest sugar consumer, state media and traders said on Wednesday, as fears of another cold front push local futures to a five-month high. They say a new cold front set to hit southern China this week will take temperatures down as low as minus 5 degrees this weekend, Chinese weather authorities said on Tuesday, and may bring snowstorms to some provinces, such as Guizhou and Hunan. A cold front earlier this week has already damaged cane crops in Guangxi, which produces 60% of the country’s output, traders said. While it may be too early to assess the extent of damage, a lower domestic harvest could prompt Beijing to ease control over imports. Beijing has not issued any import quotas so far in the year as it has focused on stockpiling domestic supplies in a bid to shore up sugar prices. Temperatures in China have plunged to their lowest in almost three decades, cold enough to freeze coastal waters and trap 1,000 ships in ice, official media have said.
China imported 3.48 million tons of sugar between January and November of last year, up 44 per cent from the preceding year. Yet the cold has not dampened the Chinese demand for gold. We saw a big bounce in Chinese buying.