Quarterly Agribusiness Survey – September 2014

The latest Post-farmgate Agribusiness Survey shows that while the sector experienced a difficult September quarter, expected conditions for the coming 12 months remain in positive territory at +5.

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Proteins support post farmgate confidence

A lower Australian dollar is providing some optimism for the post farmgate agribusiness sector after a challenging three months.

NAB’s latest Post-farmgate Agribusiness Survey shows that while the sector experienced a difficult September quarter, expected conditions for the coming 12 months remain in positive territory at +5.

NAB’s General Manager for Agribusiness, Khan Horne, said NAB expects the AUD to continue to weaken, reaching 85 US cents by mid-2015. “The falling AUD is limiting the impact of downward movements in global wheat and dairy prices, providing a buffer for Australian producers.”

Horne said the primary drivers affecting business confidence in the September quarter were weather (e.g. poor rainfall and frosts), below average rainfall forecasts for the coming months, and lower prices across many agricultural commodities. “Confidence in specific sectors for the coming three months was mixed overall. Protein was the standout, remaining broadly positive.”

Sheep meat was up to a wildly optimistic +35 despite lower heavy lamb prices, while beef was down slightly to a still respectable +14 despite the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator rising moderately over the quarter. Poultry recovered to +8.

Confidence in farm inputs increased sharply to +29 for farm chemicals and +36 for farm equipment.

The Survey’s Business Conditions Index dropped two points from -4 in the June quarter to -6 in the September quarter. However, 74 per cent of respondents rate conditions as satisfactory, good or very good. The decline in the Index is largely due to a decrease in those who rate conditions as good and an increase in those who rate conditions as satisfactory.

Trading conditions improved slightly, increasing from -2 to zero. Looking ahead, expectations of trading conditions for the December quarter are more positive at +5.

“While conditions have been challenging for many post farmgate agribusinesses, NAB’s outlook for the sector remains bullish, buoyed by a favourable AUD and solid demand conditions in key markets,” Horne said.

  For further analysis download the full report.