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Rabobank NZ-Australia Agribusiness Review March 08

Rabobank New Zealand & Australia Agribusiness Review

Please find attached a link to Rabobank's March 2008 Australia and New Zealand Agribusiness Review.

Prepared by the bank's Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory (FAR) division, the report provides monthly commentary on New Zealand and Australian economic and agricultural conditions. Highlighted in this report:

- Drought conditions remain in place throughout widespread areas of New Zealand. In Australia, wet and cool conditions dominated Queensland and northern NSW in February with record rainfalls in some areas, whilst southern NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia remained extremely dry.

- Currency movements were dominated by a weakening in the USD resulting in both the NZD and AUD reaching multi-decade highs. Australian economic news focussed on the 12th interest rate increase this monetary cycle, whilst world focus centred on the struggling US economy which continues to slide towards recession.

- Increased export supplies out of the EU and US continued the easing in world dairy commodity markets, with SMP prices most affected and now sitting 23% below the 2007 peak.

- World wheat markets during February were dominated by skyrocketing prices and extreme volatility with record price levels reached on all three US futures exchanges.

- Speculative interest in global agricultural commodity markets has continued to fuel surprising price hikes in both the world sugar and cotton markets during February and early March.

ENDS

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