MENA Customers Get Value from USSEC’s Regional Buyers / Sellers Workshop in Jordan

USSEC organized its Regional Buyers / Sellers Workshop March 10 – 12 in Dead Sea, Jordan for major traders and crushers in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region. Fifty attendees from this region participated in the conference, including major crushers, traders, feed millers, and poultry integrators. The high level of audience participation and networking between crushers and buyers measured the success of the event.
Long-time USSEC cooperators International Grains Program (IGP) of Kansas State University, INTL FCStone Financial Inc., and CME contributed to this event, to further develop the international soybean and soybean product markets.
Ali Abdi, Minister-Counselor for Agricultural Affairs at U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt called the workshop “an excellent opportunity for me to meet contacts in the region, especially from Iraq,” stating that all of the workshop topics were “very relevant to today’s business environment.”

Opening welcome by Ali Abdi, Minister-Counselor for Agricultural Affairs, United States Embassy, Cairo, Egypt

IGP’s Jay O’Neil said, “The CME Group, IGP at KSU and private association members like Intl - FCStone have forged a useful and effective partnership that combines the skill sets of the individuals on this team and creates customer outreach programs that better address customer concerns and needs. The regional buyers / sellers workshop in Dead Sea is a very good example of this type of partnership and the impact that can be created.”
He continued, “The Jordanian workshop involves key soy buyers and government representatives from the region, including a representative from the Central Bank of Tunisia. Price risk and budget management are big concerns of participants. Sophisticated hedging strategies are not well understood and therefore not employed in this part of the world.
“Participants do understand the importance of obtaining training in risk management through the use of futures and options and this worship fills a critical need in this regard.
“I have also witnessed the meaningful relationship building that these face-to-face meetings develop with our international customers. In these ever increasing competitive markets, the trust that these relationships build greatly aids U.S. producers’ marketing efforts and profitability.”

Group Photo

Jeffry Kuijpers of CME Group said that his organization has “become accustomed to the impeccable organization of these events and the superb locations and the quality and variety of the attending delegates. It always is a great pleasure to spend a few days working with the participants – in the classroom sessions and in one-on-one meetings, as well as over the many networking events that are part of the event. We truly value the opportunity to meet with our existing clients or to build relations with new ones. The concepts of risk management taught during the sessions are invaluable for the delegates present and we always get glowing feedback when we engage with the participants after the event is over. The diversity this year was once again amazing. Over 2 days, I spoke with representatives from no less then 11 MENA countries, giving me a very good feel of the developments in their respective countries.”
Matt Ammermann of INTL FCStone Financial Inc. stated, “We discussed the basic approach to using futures and options as a price risk management tool.  Many that attended were new to the concept and I feel this workshop allowed them to gain knowledge to ask more questions and to investigate the subject more to help manage their price risk as it relates to the products they buy and sell . . .this workshop [helped] put additional focus on U.S. soybeans and the multiple benefits that follow with that.”
A participant called the seminar “wonderful,” saying that it “related to hedging commodities through futures and options.” The speakers, he continued, “including the representative from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, provided a powerful example of both the risks and rewards of hedging volatile commodity risk including but not limited to soybeans. As a risk professional, I especially enjoyed the global perspective. The approach from all of the speakers was balanced and recognized the dynamics of uncertainties arising from a global environment. Financing volatility risk through hedging as a form of insurance was a continuous theme. The perspective brought by the diverse audience of regional and international participants was also an added yet unexpected feature. The first step towards a sound risk management plan in any entity or industry is gaining knowledge; breaking down cross cultural barriers either within or outside our respective organizations; and, discussing the known and unknown risk potential. USSEC did just that. We all look forward to more. This seminar isn’t about promoting U.S. soybeans; it’s about promoting responsible measured approaches toward global growth and sound fiscal practices.”

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