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Global Ag News for Aug 18.23


Xi Makes First Major Appearance After Floods That Ravaged North

Chinese President Xi Jinping made his first major public appearance after the country’s north was struck by devastating floods, calling for stronger efforts in disaster relief and safeguarding national food security.

Xi presided over a meeting of the Politburo Standing Committee on Thursday, emphasizing the need to speed up repair of damaged infrastructure such as transport, communications and electricity, as well as restore farmland and agricultural facilities, according to a report by the state broadcaster CCTV.

The comments come amid controversy over the government’s handling of the crisis. Swathes of northern China including Beijing, Hebei, Jilin and Liaoning were inundated with heavy rain and flooding brought by Typhoons Doksuri and Khanun in recent weeks, with the official tally showing at least 80 people have died.

Vehicles stranded in mud following Typhoon Doksuri in the Mentougou district of Beijing on Aug. 3.

Some victims have said they received little help from local authorities. Others lamented that some top officials were nowhere to be seen after the floods.

State media earlier this month touted Xi’s “strong and powerful” response to the disaster, ratcheting up mentions of the president who hadn’t been seen in public since the rainfall began. Reports about his leadership in ordering rescue efforts were featured prominently in front-page articles.

At Thursday’s meeting, Xi said the country is still in the main flood season, emphasizing the need to respond accurately to early warnings. He called for schools, hospitals and nursing homes to be rebuilt. Authorities should work to minimize agricultural losses and ensure food security, according to the report.


Wheat prices overnight are up 10 1/4 in SRW, up 8 1/4 in HRW, up 7 in HRS; Corn is up 1 1/4; Soybeans up 10 3/4; Soymeal up $3.70; Soyoil down 0.13.

For the week so far wheat prices are down 28 1/4 in SRW, down 16 1/4 in HRW, down 19 3/4 in HRS; Corn is down 1/4; Soybeans up 33 1/4; Soymeal down $4.30; Soyoil up 3.43.

For the month to date wheat prices are down 66 1/4 in SRW, down 79 3/4 in HRW, down 59 in HRS; Corn is down 25 1/4; Soybeans up 9; Soymeal down $11.50; Soyoil up 3.66.

Year-To-Date nearby futures are down 24.2% in SRW, down 16.4% in HRW, down 15.4% in HRS; Corn is down 30.0%; Soybeans down 11.2%; Soymeal down 15.8%; Soyoil up 6.1%.

Chinese Ag futures (NOV 23) Soybeans up 96 yuan; Soymeal up 42; Soyoil up 78; Palm oil up 72; Corn up 18 — Malaysian palm oil prices overnight were down 54 ringgit (-1.38%) at 3869.

There were no changes in registrations. Registration total: 1,398 SRW Wheat contracts; 448 Oats; 0 Corn; 0 Soybeans; 117 Soyoil; 0 Soymeal; 147 HRW Wheat.

Preliminary changes in futures Open Interest as of August 17 were: SRW Wheat up 1,165 contracts, HRW Wheat up 1,439, Corn up 2,519, Soybeans up 7,036, Soymeal down 3,712, Soyoil down 122.

Northern Plains: A front will stall out in the Northern Plains this weekend through a good portion of next week, being a focus for potential showers and thunderstorms. Any rainfall will help filling corn and soybeans if and where it occurs.

Central/Southern Plains: Quieter conditions are expected in the Central and Southern Plains for a while as the storm track gets pushed northward and heat builds across the area. The heat may be extreme for a few days, but eventually diminish in intensity by late next week for most areas. However, above-normal temperatures are forecast to continue through the end of August and likely into September. There is some potential for a tropical wave to go through Texas mid-late next week; otherwise, it should be very dry until maybe next weekend. Ample soil moisture from recent precipitation will combat the heat some, but stress will eventually take over under the more extreme conditions.

Midwest: A front continues to move through the Midwest Thursday with scattered showers for eastern areas. Heat will build across the region this weekend, but a front will stall out over far northern areas, which may bring rainfall chances there next week. The front will likely back in across the Great Lakes later next week and bring potential showers and some cooler temperatures. Southern areas will be drier, but have seen better precipitation, which will help counteract the stressful heat for at least a period before stress finally takes over. Temperatures are likely to ease later next week, but above-normal temperatures are likely to continue for southwestern areas through the rest of August. Areas near and behind that front will see a more significant cooldown.

Delta: After a brief break from the heat the next couple days, it will build back into the Delta this weekend while staying largely dry. A small tropical disturbance will move through the northern Gulf of Mexico and could catch southern areas with some rain early next week, otherwise the drier conditions will continue through the end of August. Limited soil moisture is not enough to combat the heat in many places as soybeans and cotton finish filling, especially across the south.

The player sheet for Aug. 17 had funds: net sellers of 3,500 contracts of SRW wheat, buyers of 3,000 corn, sellers of 2,000 soybeans, sellers of 2,500 soymeal, and  buyers of 4,000 soyoil.


  • FEED BARLEY TENDER: Jordan’s state grains buyer issued a new international tender to purchase up to 120,000 metric tons of animal feed barley.


  • CORN AND SOYMEAL TENDERS: Iranian state-owned animal feed importer SLAL issued two international tenders to purchase up to 180,000 metric tons of animal feed corn and 120,000 metric tons of soymeal.
  • VEGETABLE OILS TENDER: Egypt’s GASC is seeking refined sunflower oil in one-litre bottles in an international tender. It is seeking at least 5,000 metric tons of oils, free of customs, on behalf of the Holding Company for Food Industries, for delivery during October and/or November and/or December. Deadline for submitting offers is Aug. 17.
  • RICE TENDER: South Korea’s state-backed Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp issued an international tender to purchase an estimated 130,200 metric tons of rice all to be sourced from China
  • WHEAT TENDER: A Syrian state grains agency issued an international tender to purchase and import 200,000 metric tons of soft milling wheat.
  • FEED WHEAT AND BARLEY TENDER: Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) said it will seek 60,000 metric tons of feed wheat and 20,000 tons of feed barley to be loaded by Nov. 30 and arrive in Japan by Jan. 25 via a simultaneous buy and sell (SBS) auction that will be held on Aug. 23.

Map of China


US Sold 1.5M Tons of Soybeans Last Week; 938K of Corn: USDA

USDA releases net export sales report on website for week ending Aug. 10.

  • All wheat sales fell to 360k tons vs 561k in previous week
  • Soybean sales fell to 1,501k tons vs 1,503k in previous week
  • Corn sales rose to 938k tons vs 909k in previous week

US Export Sales of Soybeans, Corn and Wheat by Country

The following shows US export sales of soybeans, corn and wheat by biggest net buyers for week ending Aug. 10, according to data on the USDA’s website.

  • China was the top buyer of soybeans in the week with 961k tons
  • Mexico was the top buyer of corn and also led in wheat

US Export Sales of Pork and Beef by Country 

The following shows US export sales of pork and beef product by biggest net buyers for week ending Aug. 10, according to data on the USDA’s website.

  • Mexico bought 9.4k tons of the 31.5k tons of pork sold in the week
  • South Korea led in beef purchases

IGC Cuts Global Grain Production Forecast, Ups Stockpiles Est.

World grain production in the 2023-24 season is now seen at 2.294b tons, slightly down from a July forecast of 2.297b tons, the International Grains Council said in a report.

  • “Estimates for Canada, the EU and China are reduced, partly offset by an upgrade for Ukraine”
  • Stockpiles estimate raised to 584m tons from 581m tons
  • Corn and wheat production estimates little changed from July estimate
  • Rice production seen slightly lower than earlier at 523m tons, stockpiles also slightly lower at 170m tons

Argentine Corn Production Estimate Aug. 17: Exchange

The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange releases weekly report on website.

  • 2022-23 corn production est. maintained at 34m tons, with 90% of the crop harvested
  • Corn harvest rose 9.3% in latest week

El Nino could delay rains in Argentina until October, hitting corn

Heavy rainfall linked to the weather phenomenon known as El Nino likely will kick off in Argentina in October, experts said on Thursday, which could affect the upcoming corn planting season in some parts of the country.

Water is needed in many key corn-growing areas where soil moisture levels are low, following a crippling drought that curtailed agricultural production during the 2022/23 season.

Farmers are expected to start planting corn for the 2023/24 cycle in September.

“We still have to spend August and the entire month of September with a situation that doesn’t seem to be the best,” said German Heinzenknecht, a meteorologist at climate consultancy CCA, who forecasts rains in October.

The Rosario Stock Exchange (BCR) noted in a statement that current weather forecasts call for a more moderate El Nino, after stronger effects were previously seen, while also agreeing that rains will most likely pick up from October.

In a pre-season estimate, the BCR calculated the 2023/24 corn harvest at 56 million metric tons, adding that many farmers will delay their sowing or directly abandon their plans to sow the cereal if there is not enough rain.

“The possibility of adding 300,000 hectares (741,316 acres) of corn planting seems more and more remote due to the lack of water,” according to the BCR, which has estimated the 2023/24 corn area at 8.5 million hectares.

First Ship From Ukraine in Istanbul After Grain Deal Failure: AA

The container ship “Joseph Schulte,” which departed from the Odesa port in Ukraine, arrived in Istanbul, Turkish state-run Anadolu Agency reports on Friday.

The ship entered the Bosphorus at 06.10am local time

NOTE: Joseph Schulte was the first ship to leave Ukraine’s ports since the collapse of the grain corridor deal with Russia

Western Australia’s Wheat Outlook Trimmed on Drier Conditions

  • State’s output unlikely to exceed 10 millions tons, GIWA says
  • Bureau says climate models indicate below normal rain expected

Western Australia’s wheat production is unlikely to exceed 10 million tons this season due to warmer temperatures and drier conditions, according to a monthly report from the state’s grain association.

Overall, the yield potential for the state’s grain has slipped by more than 1 million tons in the last few weeks, and could decline further in some areas if rainfall doesn’t pick up, said the Grain Industry Association of Western Australia. The state is the nation’s biggest wheat exporter.

Climate models continue to indicate that below normal rain is more likely over coming months for most of Australia, according to the Bureau of Meteorology. Recent light rainfall in the north of the state has given grain growers a short reprieve from what was shaping up as a very poor year, GIWA said.

Conditions for growers in the south is mixed, with patches of very dry areas and some extremely waterlogged areas near the coast, the group said. Western Australia accounts for about 40% of the nation’s wheat output, according to the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.

Saskatchewan crop report

Scattered showers across the province paused harvest for a short time, but producers welcomed the moisture. Saskatchewan crops are nine per cent harvested this week, ahead of the five-year average of eight per cent and the 10-year average of five per cent.

The southwest is leading the province in harvest progress, with 20 per cent of this year’s crop harvested for the year. Producers in the northwest were delayed this week due to rain showers and have harvested only one per cent of this year’s crop. Producers have made progress harvesting all crops this week, excluding flax. Fall cereals are still the most harvested crop this week, with 61 per cent of fall rye and 56 per cent of winter wheat taken off for the year. Field peas and lentils are the most harvested spring seeded crops; 36 per cent of both field peas and lentils have been harvested provincially. Oilseeds, in general, have been harvested the least so far.

All crop districts received some moisture with the showers that moved across the province this week. The most significant moisture received was 67 mm in Esterhazy, followed closely by 63 mm in Lipton. An increase in soil moisture was recorded this week. In cropland, 26 per cent of topsoil has adequate moisture, 45 per cent is short and 29 per cent is very short. Twenty-one per cent of hay and pasture land has adequate topsoil moisture, 45 per cent is short and 34 per cent is very short.

Crop reporters were asked to report on water supply and quality this week. Provincially, moderate water supply shortages are occurring for livestock producers, with many anticipating more significant shortages soon while some are already reporting severe water shortages. Producers can visit their local regional office to have the quality of their livestock water sources tested.

EU to probe if Indonesia circumventing biodiesel import duties

The European Union said on Thursday it had launched an investigation into whether Indonesia was circumventing EU duties on imports of biodiesel originating in the country by going through China and Britain.

The EU is Indonesia’s third-largest destination for palm oil products and an important market for its biodiesel, which is made from palm oil, while Indonesia is the world’s biggest palm oil producer.

The EU’s probe followed an initial request from the European Biodiesel Board.

“The request contains sufficient evidence that the existing countervailing measures on imports of the product concerned are being circumvented by imports of the product under investigation,” the European Commission said in the EU’s official journal.

“A change in the pattern of trade involving exports from Indonesia and the People’s Republic of China and the United Kingdom to the Union has taken place following the imposition of the existing countervailing measures,” it added.

Indonesia’s trade ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Earlier this week, Indonesia requested World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute consultations with the EU over the EU’s imposition of duties on biodiesel imports from Indonesia.

Asked about this situation, a European Commission spokesperson told reporters that the EU was confident its duties on Indonesia were in full compliance with WTO rules and that the EU was ready to discuss the matter with Indonesia.

Trade relations between the EU and Indonesia have been strained by the bloc’s move to limit imports of commodities linked to deforestation, which is expected to curb EU imports of palm oil from top suppliers Indonesia and Malaysia.

As well as biodiesel, palm oil is used widely in food and cosmetics.

Germany, meanwhile, earlier this year asked the European Commission to investigate biofuel shipments from China amid industry concerns that imported biodiesel declared as being based on recycled feedstock may contain cheaper oils.

India July Oilmeals Exports Rise to 381,302 Tons

India’s oilmeals exports rose to 381,302tons in July from 280,001tons in June, according to the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India.

  • Rapeseed meal exports rose to 273,379tons from 140,506tons in June
  • Soymeal exports fell to 56,210tons from 73,139tons in June
  • Rice-bran extract exports fell to 26,032tons from 45,705tons in June
  • Castorseed meal exports rose to 25,554tons from 17,512tons in June

India to buy 9mn tonnes of discounted Russian Wheat

India is reportedly in confidential talks with Russia for the biggest ever grain deal between the two countries, the supply of some 8-9mn tonnes of wheat worth $2bn, even though India is reportedly demanding a very deep discount, Reuters reported on August 17. The discussions are anticipated to continue for several more weeks.

‘The government is exploring the possibility of imports through private trade and government-to-government deals. The decision will be made cautiously,’ an Indian government source told Reuters, when asked about wheat imports from Russia.

Indian wheat stocks at government warehouses were at 28.3mn tons on August 1, some 20% below the 10-year average, Reuters reports.

India has not imported wheat for years as it is usually self-sufficient, but extreme weather in the last two years has hurt domestic production. The talks come as India is trying to manage food inflation ahead of the upcoming 2024 national and regional elections under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party faces a united opposition in the elections, with polls currently favouring the incumbent party.

As bne IntelliNews reported, wheat, rice and a negative impact on agriculture from El Niño this year have food security warning lights flashing red.

In July the Indian government banned the export of white rice in an effort to contain domestic food prices by administrative means. The effect of the Indian rice ban has rippled out around Asia, driving rice prices high across SE Asia and leading to governments across the region scrambling to shore up reserves of rice in anticipation of reduced yields this year in their own markets thanks to El Niño. That has pushed food inflation up globally. India also banned wheat exports last year and again this year after yields are expected to fall 10% this year, leading to domestic prices for wheat taking off at the end of May.

Things have gotten so bad that both the Burger King and McDonald’s franchises in India have taken tomatoes off the menu following a poor harvest that made prices prohibitively expensive.

That has left Russia in pole position to help, as it is one of the world’s five agricultural superpowers and following an all-time high record harvest of 153mn-155mn tonnes of grain last year, its silos are full to bursting . Russia is expected to export a record 60mn tonnes of grain this – almost double its average exports from the last five years.

A deal for 9mn tonnes of wheat would be significant and a big increase on deliveries to India which is not one of Russia’s biggest customers as it is a major producer of wheat in its own right and has not imported large amounts of grain since 2017, when it bought 5.3mn tonnes on the open market. But wheat production has been in decline in the last few seasons due to a series of extreme heat waves in summers.

Wheat production declined to 107.74 million tonnes due to heat waves in key growing states during the 2021-22 agricultural year, down from the previous record of 109.59 million tonnes set a year earlier. The harvest is expected to fall again this season to 105mn tonnes of wheat putting domestic supplies under pressure and driving the government to look to imports to shore up its strategic reserve.

If the 9mn tonne deal with India goes ahead it would be 15-times more than India normally imports from Russia and represent about a fifth of Russia’s entire export capacity in the current agricultural year. It is also double Egypt’s annual purchases from Russia, currently Russia’s biggest client and one of the biggest importers of grain in the world.

India’s trade reliance on Russia has grown rapidly in the last two years. Indian oil imports from Russia have grown from about 2% pre-war in Ukraine to top 46% in the first half of this year and mutual trade turnover has increased to just under $50bn a year.

The 9mn tonnes is also more than twice the size of the Indian government’s projection for this year’s grain deficit, estimating it needs 3-4mn tonnes to cover a potential shortfall. If the deal goes ahead, it would shore up the domestic reserve, ensuring price stability for wheat on the Indian market after prices rose by 10% in the last two months.

Russia is desperate to export more grain as an estimated $3.4bn worth of grain is in danger of rotting this year if more room cannot be freed up in its silos. India is reportedly asking for a deep discount of $25-40 per tonne of wheat to market prices, which Russia is reportedly willing to offer. The current FOB Novorossiysk price stands at approximately $250 per ton, Reuters reports.

Unlike oil exports, Russia’s agricultural product exports are not subject to sanctions, therefore, payment for the wheat purchase will likely be made in dollars, similar to transactions involving Russian sunflower oil. The total cost of the discounted wheat deal should be slightly less than $2bn, The Bell reports.

The deal would have the added benefit of offering a degree of protection against potential disruptions at Russian Black Sea grain ports. Following Russia’s withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative on July 17, guarantees for the safety of sea routes were revoked. This resulted in Russia imposing suspicions on ships bound for Ukraine of transporting weapons. Despite this, Ukraine has redirected its grain exports to Danube ports and has been actively seeking alternative routes. A really big deal with India would encourage Russia to re-establish the grain deal, something that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s allies in Africa, Turkey and China all want to see him do.

Ukraine has increased military tensions in the Black Sea after an unmanned naval drone attack on the Russian port of Novorossiysk this month and a recent declaration of the waters around the Russian ports of Anapa, Novorossiysk, Gelendzhik, Tuapse, Sochi, and Taman are a military threat zone further complicates the situation.

The Russian Ministry of Defence also reported that a Ukrainian naval drone had attempted to attack two Black Sea Fleet patrol ships on August 17, but they destroyed the drones with their onboard defence systems. Tensions in the Black Sea remain high.

India Braces for More Rain After Floods, Lightning Kill 2,000

  • Crops and almost 90,000 houses damaged since start of monsoon
  • Indian army and air force helping rescue and relief operations

Some regions of India are bracing for more torrential rain, raising the risk of further causalities after natural calamities such as floods and lightning killed 2,000 people during the current monsoon season.

Rains have affected about 500,000 hectares (1.24 million acres) of crops and damaged almost 90,000 houses since the start of the monsoon in early June, according to data compiled by the home ministry. Around 60,000 animals have also died, the figures show.

The June-September monsoon that irrigates about half of the country’s farm land is vital for India’s food production and economic growth, but also causes widespread damage and destruction. The weather office says that climate change is making the annual weather pattern more volatile, increasing the chance of both flooding and droughts.

Extreme weather hit India’s wheat crop last year and is threatening sugar output in 2023-24, prompting the government to take several measures to soften soaring food prices. The administration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is gearing up for elections in early 2024, has curbed exports of wheat, rice and sugar, and is selling grains from state reserves.

Further precipitation could also impact standing rice crops, which will be harvested in October. Several states, including Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh, are set to be lashed by heavy rains in the coming days, according to the India Meteorological Department. This risk of flash floods in some areas has also increased, it said on Friday.

The northern state of Himachal Pradesh in the Himalayas is bearing the brunt of extreme weather, with the death toll rising to more than 330 since the start of the monsoon. Some 500 people, who were stranded when a dam opened its gates on Monday night to avoid damage to its structure, were rescued by air force helicopters and other teams working in the area, according to the federal home ministry.

The Indian Army and the National Disaster Response Force rescued about 300 people on Thursday from some flood-hit villages of Punjab, a state in northern India, the Press Trust of India reported. Parts of mega cities Delhi and Mumbai, where millions of people live, were also flooded last month due to heavy rains for several days.

Drought in Kazakhstan leads to destruction of 170 hectares of croplands

Drought conditions in Kazakhstan have resulted in the destruction of 170 hectares of croplands across four regions of the country, according to a report from the Ministry of Agriculture.

The regions of Zhambyl, East Kazakhstan, Kostanay, and Pavlodar have been particularly affected by the drought, leading to significant damage to crops.

Operational data from regional agriculture departments indicate that 46% of grain crops are in good condition, 45.3% are in “satisfactory” condition and 7.6% are in poor condition. The impact of the drought has led to the destruction of 170,900 hectares of croplands in certain areas of Akmola, West Kazakhstan, Kostanay, and Pavlodar regions.

Despite these challenges, Kazakhstani farmers have planted grain crops on 17.5mn hectares of land this year, representing an increase of 1.4mn hectares compared to 2022. Wheat crops alone have been cultivated on 13.7mn hectares, marking a substantial expansion of 834,900 hectares compared to the previous year.

Brazil’s Unigel restarts fertilizer plant to boost domestic supply

Unigel, the largest Brazilian manufacturer of nitrogen fertilizers, on Thursday announced the resumption of activities at a unit called Unigel Agro Sergipe, which produces urea and ammonia.

The company said it scheduled the restart for September after a slight improvement in the outlook for the domestic petrochemical sector.

The factory in Sergipe state was idled due to challenging market conditions, Unigel said. Another plant in Bahia state that was likewise idled will remain offline.

Both are leased from state-run oil giant Petrobras PETR4.SA.

“The chemical industry’s outlook remains challenging, but we understand that it is time to resume activities gradually and responsibly,” Unigel’s CEO Roberto Santos said in a statement.

“We foresee an increase in urea demand through the end of the year due to the next winter [grain] harvest,” he said.

When operating at full capacity, the Sergipe plant can produce 450,000 tons of ammonia and 650,000 tons of urea per year.

Unigel’s decision is good news for the farm sector as it will reduce some of Brazil’s heavy reliance on imported fertilizers. Santos said imports currently provide 85% of demand.

Information about restarting the Sergipe plant was first disclosed by Brazil’s Valor Economico newspaper.

Mexico Says Its GMO Corn Rules Don’t Violate Trade Pact With US

Mexico said its rules on genetically modified corn trade don’t violate the free-trade deal with the US, in reaction to the US decision to establish a dispute resolution panel under the USMCA regarding the topic, according to a statement from the Economy Ministry sent Thursday.

  • Mexico said is prepared to defend its position before an international panel
  • Mexico said it expects the decision of the panel will be known in 2024
  • “The challenged measures do not have commercial effects,” the Economy Ministry said
  • The next procedural stage will be the appointment of the members of the panel, Mexico said

Grupo Modelo, Millfoods to Invest $300m in Mexico Plant for Beer

Grupo Modelo and Millfoods will invest $300 million for the construction of a corn plant to make beer in the city of Salamanca, in the Mexican state of Guanajuato, according to a statement from the companies and the Economy Ministry.

  • The plant is expected to be built in 2024
  • The project will generate more than 1,000 jobs and will benefit more than 20,000 corn producers
  • The plant is expected to have a dry production cycle that minimizes the use of water, according to the statement

Drought Eases in US Corn and Soybean Regions: Aug. 15

The following shows the percent of US agricultural production within an area that experienced drought for the week ending Aug. 15, according to the USDA’s weekly drought report.

  • Corn crops experiencing moderate to intense drought dropped by 7 percentage points from the previous week to 42%
  • Drought has eased in corn fields since peaking at 70% in late June
  • Soybean crops in drought declined by 5 points, falling to 38%

S Miss. River Grain Shipments Rise, Barge Rates Increase: USDA

Barge shipments down the Mississippi river increased to 355k tons in the week ending Aug. 12 from 328k tons the previous week, according to the USDA’s weekly grain transportation report.

  • Barge shipments of corn rose 3.5% from the previous week
  • Soybean shipments up 17.8% w/w
  • St. Louis barge rates were $14.31 per short ton, an increase of $0.17 from the previous week


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