NAB Rural Commodities Wrap: March 2019

Overall, the NAB Rural Commodities Index gained 0.2% in February – “above water” only due to strong gains in fruit and vegetables, dairy and to a lesser extent wool and sugar.

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Our podcast series continues this month. The first podcast is a quick, 5 minute, run through the key results in the wrap. To listen, just click the link below:

NAB Rural Commodities Wrap: March 2019

I take a break from the second podcast, and NAB Senior Economist Gerard Burg chats to sector head of NAB Agribusiness Neil Findlay on Australian agricultural exports to China. To listen, just click the link below:

Gerard Burg and Neil Findlay talk agricultural exports to China

  • Autumn rolls on and while some areas have seen rain – particularly across a good deal of Queensland – much of the country continues to experience very dry conditions.
  • Cattle prices fell to lows not seen since late 2014 earlier this month, although have recovered since then on good rain on the Darling Downs. Ultimately, a good season will be need to see a sustained uptick in the cattle market – a tough ask given conditions in many areas. Lamb has fared better, reflecting strong demand and wool continues to perform well.
  • Grain has eased from very high levels at the end of year, with east coast wheat falling from the mid-$400s range to the high-$300s more recently. Prices remain well above global benchmarks however, and a late autumn break will limit downward pressure. Ultimately it is hard to see a big decline in prices with so little in the tank in the east.
  • Dairy auction prices have tracked a good deal higher since the last major farmgate step-ups. The biggest concern for the industry at present is high input costs – particularly grain and in irrigated regions, water.
  • Overall, the NAB Rural Commodities Index gained 0.2% in February – “above water” only due to strong gains in fruit and vegetables, dairy and to a lesser extent wool and sugar.

For further details, please see the NAB Rural Commodities Wrap: March 2019.