AUTHORS

Vyanne Lai

Vyanne Lai

“Vyanne is responsible for analysing and reporting on the trends and developments in the agribusiness industry, working in conjunction with bankers in NAB’s Agribusiness division. ”

Vyanne joined NAB in early 2013 after spending four years in the Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance (DTF) as a macroeconomic and tax forecaster. In her time in DTF, she was heavily involved in the forecasting of the indicators of the household sector, prices and the amount of Goods and Services Tax (GST) that gets distributed to the state. She also participated actively in the preparation of the annual state publications such as the Budget papers and the Annual Financial Report.

At NAB, Vyanne is responsible for analysing and reporting on the trends and developments in the agribusiness industry, working in conjunction with bankers in NAB’s Agribusiness division.

Vyanne graduated with a bachelor degree in Arts and Social Sciences (honours in Economics) from the National University of Singapore and subsequently completed Masters of Applied Commerce (International) at the University of Melbourne. She is currently undertaking Masters of Economics at the University of Melbourne on a part-time basis.

RECENTLY PUBLISHED ARTICLES

Gold prices have been relatively resilient in the past couple of months, fluctuating between $1300/oz and $1370/oz since late June

Since early November, oil prices have resumed a clear downward trend, punctuated by episodes of sharp declines during early to mid- December and the first half of January.

After recording gravity-defying price gains in April and May that are largely denominated by correlation with the USD, oil price movements have turned bearish in June and July-to- date.

Oil prices rebounded sharply in April and May, benefiting from a confluence of factors: a stall in the USD rally, signs of slowing inventory build-up in the US, as well as unabated geopolitical volatility in the Middle East marked by Yemen civil unrests.

In May, gold prices averaged at around US$1199 per ounce, largely unchanged compared to April. This reduction in volatility has largely been associated with contained macroeconomic volatility, as most major economies continue to be on a path of gradual recovery.

After the drastic falls towards the end of 2014, oil indexes started to exhibit some tentative signs of stabilisation since mid-January. Prices traded mainly around mid to high USD40s a barrel in the second half of the month, before breaking above USD50s in the first week of February.

The relative price stability that characterised Brent and Tapis in the first half of 2014 has been shaken of late by unexpectedly severe sectarian turmoil in Iraq. After Mosul fell on 10 June, Brent jumped 4% in a week and broke through $115 per barrel by 19 June.

Supported by still-low bond yields and more positive economic data from China and the US, global equity markets maintained their upward trend in May to close higher in general. However, commodities markets were more mixed.

In the past month, US natural gas prices moderated slightly on milder weather, but remained around 13% more than the same time last year on extremely low inventories. In contrast, the slide in European gas prices continued in May on low heating demand.

There are signs of stabilisation in the growth in the US and China: the US Fed proceeded with another US$10 billion cut in their monthly quantitative easing program to US$45 billion, while Chinese industrial activity gained some support from a series of targeted stimulus policies.

Post-farmgate agribusiness conditions fell significantly in the March quarter from a 9-year high in December quarter as supportive seasonal factors dissipated. However, a sustained period of positive readings suggests that underlying fundamentals remain strong.

Globally, commodity markets experienced heightened volatility in March, with the concerns of a slowdown in China and its first domestic bond default triggering some investor risk aversion.

Since mid-January, several idiosyncratic factors, such as the ramping up of takeaway capacity by the Keystone XL Pipeline, better US economic data and unseasonably cold weather, have propped West Texas Intermediate (WTI) prices relative to Tapis and Brent.

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