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Rabobank Agribusiness Review Dec 17

Rabobank’s latest Agribusiness Review for Australia and New Zealand.
Prepared by the bank’s Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory division, the report provides monthly commentary on Australian and New Zealand agricultural conditions.

Key highlights:
• In New Zealand, a tornado triggered by a series of intense thunderstorms caused extensive damage to parts of Auckland on December 6. In Australia, according to the Bureau of Meteorology, the first 'normal' summer since 2005/06 is expected. Meanwhile, the Murray-Darling Basin Plan passed through parliament in November and is scheduled to begin transitional implementation in 2013.

• Much of the attention in global markets is focussed on the US fiscal cliff. Despite some positive employment data in the US, consumer and business confidence has been dragged lower by uncertainty surrounding the impact of the fiscal cliff.

• Having been range-bound for some time both the New Zealand and Australian dollar are on track to close the year out between 5-10% stronger against the US dollar. Rabobank forecasts expect both currencies to remain firm in the short term.

• Dairy commodity prices firmed only slightly through November. Increases were most notable in SMP and cheddar – firming by just over 1% to take prices back to equal the same period last year. Contracting production from key export supply regions is the key feature of the current market balance – with the exception of New Zealand, where favourable seasonal conditions have alleviated some supply side pressure.

• The Eastern Young Cattle Index (EYCI) finished at AUD331.5c/kg, down AUD73.25c/kg on the same time last year. The bright spot continues to be Australian manufacturing beef exports to the US, with frozen prices trading at record highs.

• Global grains and oilseeds markets are expected to rise in Q1 2013, driven by tightness in corn and soybean stocks. The half-way point of the Australian harvest has been reached. Rabobank forecasts that total wheat production for the 2012/13 season will total 20.2 million tonnes, 2.1 million tonnes lower than the latest ABARES estimate.

• The global fertiliser complex has remained relatively range-bound in recent months with global trading activity remaining subdued. The markets are expected to see increased activity as the planting program gets underway in the early months of 2013.

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