Food and Agribusiness Talking Points 29-02-2016

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Chinese cotton demand up again after seven years

China’s cotton consumption is predicted to begin rising, after a six year decline. The US Department of Agriculture predicted Chinese consumption to increase by 1m bales over the next year, bringing total demand to 33.0m bales. This comes as a nice change for the consumption levels, which topped out at 50.0m bales between 2009-2010. The seven year dip came as a result of China’s industry protectionist policies, where elevated domestic prices drove down the industry’s competitive strength. The USDA predicts the demand to grow as a result of further lifting of government protectionism and an increasing flexibility in accepting bids below the Chinese benchmark. International prices will be negatively effected, with the extra cotton adding an average 67 cents per pound of the fibre. The USDA also forecasts a welcome turnaround for Chinese cotton imports – making overall predictions positive for the year to come. Click here for full article. 

Farming minister says Britain farming would benefit from EU exit

Last Wednesday, in a move directly against David Cameron and the secretary of state for environment, farming and rural affairs, Liz Truss, the British farming minister George Eustice called the National Farming Union (NFU) to vote against inclusion in the European Union. Eustice made the argument for ‘fresh-thinking’ policies in the wake of a Brexit, and referred to a predicted £2bn per year that could be spent on developing British farming. However, as the government has not specifically indicated it would divert these levels of taxpayer funds to farmers, at this stage these claims must be taken at face value. Despite this, polls from The Guardian show that a noticeable swing has occurred since last year, with a clear split down the middle as opposed to previous swings towards remaining. The NFU will be releasing a report on the effects of EU membership on farming in late March. Click here for full article. 

Friday PM markets: downward movement for agriculture

Grains and soft commodities dropped late last week, surpassing the CRB index expected 0.6 percent in overall commodities. Investors pressed prices lower as open interest fell, due to short covering in the last session and investors most likely abandoning contracts pre-expiry responsibility. The dollar also strengthened, contributing to total gains of 1.6 percent. In turn, this spelt less affordable prices for most exports in the agriculture industry, due to dollar-denomination. Brazil saw estimates for soybeans above 103m tons and Argentina rose above 60m close to 62m, according to Darrell Holaday as US broker Futures International. For China, it saw predictions of more cotton making it to the market  from the USDA – a repercussion of some of the import / export reforms it’s bringing about in the national ag industry. Click here for full article. 

Agricultural talent important says Minister Han

Last Thursday the top leaders from the Ministry of Agriculture of the PRC (MOC) reiterated the importance of innovation and modernisation within the sector. This encouraging push was offered as the MOA met with the winners of the 5th ‘China Agricultural Excellence’ Awards and the 1st Top 10 National Agricultural Technology Extension Pacesetters in Beijing. Although the Minister was speaking directly with those in agriculture, his message was promoting pioneering innovation in all sectors. The take home message was that successful people were the backbone to successful industry and that focussing on developing this strong ‘primary resource’ was a surefire way to sector-wide success. He also noted that China was transitioning from conventional agriculture to modern agriculture, with innovation-driven development, technological advancement and an increased emphasis on health all aiding this process. Click here for full article.