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Cargill CFO Sees Signs Of Economic Recovery

The chief financial officer of U. S. agribusiness giant and trading firm Cargill Inc. said Aug. 18 he sees signs that emerging economies were recovering and was cautiously optimistic about growth in the months ahead.

“I think emerging markets continue to offer the best opportunities. That is where the economic activity is best right now,” Cargill CFO David MacLennan told Reuters in an interview after the company announced quar terly earnings.

“Developed economies like the U. S. and Western Europe are still very much in the recovery phase, but if you look at economies like Brazil, China, India, Southeast Asian economies, where we’ve been growing and investing a lot in recent years, things look pretty good by comparison.”

Cargill – a leading U. S. grain exporter, major ethanol producer and top energy trader that operates in 68 countries – said quarterly profits fell 69 per cent compared with a year earlier as a weak economy hurt by a loss in its risk management and financial services sector.

Disappointing earnings in Cargill’s industrial segment, which includes its majority investment in fertilizer producer Mosaic Co., also contributed to lower fourth-quarter profits.

MacLennan said he expected the fertilizer industry to stabilize after demand slumped in the past year amid a collapse in commodity prices.

“The worst is behind us,” citing weak demand coming into the U. S. planting season.

Full-year earnings decreased 16 per cent to $3.33 billion, from a record $3.95 billion in the prior year – making it Cargill’s second-best year in history.

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