Banking on grain lift
European banking giant ABN Amro is tipping a better year for some of agriculture’s downbeat commodity markets, notably wheat, corn, cocoa and coffee.
However, it is less optimistic about sugar, forecasting prices will be under pressure from a supply surplus in 2018.
Based on depleted production and a likely rise in demand, the Dutch-based bank expects global grain markets will benefit from continuing strong Chinese livestock feed industry demand, while demand for tropical commodities such as cocoa and coffee has been notably high in the US and Europe.
It also assumed a repeat of the past year’s optimal growing conditions for cocoa and soybeans would be unlikely and 2018 crops would be smaller, or of lesser quality.
Wheat and corn plantings were also expected to be smaller.
However, no real shortages of grains were anticipated at this point, and prices were not expected to rise “very far”, although ABN Amro’s tip for Chicago wheat prices by late 2018 is $US5 a bushel – stronger than current December 2018 futures prices around $US4.75.
Organic Fertoz phosphate
Australian fertiliser business and organic phosphate development company, Fertoz, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Canada’s Providence Grain Group (PGG) to supply its organic rock phosphate blends into PGG's grain and inputs business.
Providence plans to expand its organic grain and input business based on Fertoz's organic rock phosphate.
PGG is one of Canada’s foremost producer-owned full-service grain and agricultural solution providers, offers grain drying, storage, off-farm pickups, specialised marketing services and futures and options marketing serveices to growers.
PGG president, Milt Miller, said the company strongly believed in the growth of natural inputs, and “our tests indicate Fertoz’s rock phosphate is a great fit for our organic strategy”.
Elders gets $180m for less
Elders efficiency and cost cutting drive has focused on a new $180 million self liquidating debtor finance facility with improved terms through Rabobank.
The arrangements include a 36-month $75m multi-option facility for the company’s general corporate activities maturing in August 2020, a $20m option to fund livestock and feed purchases for the Killara Feedlot in northern NSW, up to 180m in debtor securitisation for the retail business, and a $10m transactional banking facility.
Managing director, Mark Allison said the refinanced debt package took advantage of continued positive momentum within Elders and provided a strong platform for growth in the retail business in 2018.
Digital export moves
The Export Council of Australia (ECA) has applauded the federa government’s leading efforts in establishing a work program to set rules for digital trade during the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) recent Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister Steven Ciobo, said the initiative put in place a framework to shape the rules of international e-commerce in the years to come.
It includes 70 of the WTO’s 164 members that collectively account for 75 per cent of global trade, including the United States, Japan and the European Union.
“E-commerce, digital trade and the tech startups they foster are increasingly important elements of Australia’s trade future,” said export council strategic advisor Lisa McAuley.
“Certainty around digital rules and regulations will allow companies from all backgrounds to confidently explore digital economy opportunities around the world.