The December edition of Agricultural commodities contains ABARES' latest outlook for Australia's key agricultural commodities in 2015-16, and updates the outlook ABARES released in September 2015.
In addition to commodity forecasts, this publication includes two boxes:
• seasonal conditions in Australia
• farm cash income of broadacre farms
and one article: • key agricultural outcomes of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.
The Agricultural commodities report provides high quality and timely information that supports higher farm gate returns through informed decision making by primary producers.
• The gross value of farm production is forecast to increase by 8 per cent in 2015-16 to around $57.6 billion, following an estimated increase of 4 per cent to $53.5 billion in 2014-15. At this forecast level, the gross value of farm production in 2015-16 would be around 17 per cent higher than the average of $49.4 billion over the five years to 2014-15 in nominal terms.
• The gross value of livestock production is forecast to increase by around 13 per cent in 2015-16 to $30.0 billion following an estimated increase of 16 per cent in 2014-15. The forecast increase in 2015-16 mainly reflects expected increases in the farmgate prices for beef cattle, lamb, sheep and wool.
• The forecast increases in farmgate prices are expected to more than offset a forecast decline of 5 per cent in the volume index of livestock production in 2015-16. This mainly reflects an assumption of more favourable seasonal conditions in the latter half of 2015-16 leading to reduced slaughter as a result of herd and flock rebuilding.
• The gross value of crop production is forecast to increase by 2 per cent in 2015-16 to $27.6 billion alongside an expected increase of 2 per cent in the volume index of crop production. This mainly reflects increases in horticultural production offsetting the falling world prices of grains and oilseeds.
• Export earnings from farm commodities are forecast to be around $44.0 billion in 2015-16, following a rise of 6 per cent to an estimated $43.6 billion in 2014-15. At this level, export earnings from farm commodities in 2015-16 would be around 15 per cent higher than the average of $38.2 billion over the five years to 2014-15 in nominal terms.
• Agricultural commodities for which export earnings are forecast to rise in 2015-16 include: wheat (up 3 per cent to $5.7 billion), wool (9 per cent to $3.5 billion), wine (3 per cent to $2.1 billion), lamb (1 per cent to $1.7 billion), sugar (8 per cent to $1.4 billion), live feeder/slaughter cattle (16 per cent to $1.3 billion) and chickpeas (56 per cent to $0.6 billion).
• These forecast increases are expected to be largely offset by forecast falls in export earnings from beef and veal (down 3 per cent to $8.6 billion), dairy (6 per cent to $2.3 billion), coarse grains (14 per cent to $2.3 billion), canola (8 per cent to $1.2 billion), cotton (21 per cent to $1.2 billion) and mutton (2 per cent to $0.8 billion).
• Export earnings from fisheries products are forecast to increase by 17 per cent to around $1.7 billion in 2015-16, after increasing by an estimated 10 per cent to $1.4 billion in 2014-15.
• The index of unit export returns for Australian farm exports is forecast to rise by 7 per cent in 2015-16, following an estimated rise of 6 per cent in 2014-15. The forecast increase in 2015-16 mainly reflects the effect of the assumed lower value of the Australian dollar, especially against the US dollar.
• In Australian dollar terms, export prices of beef and veal, wool, wine, lamb, live feeder/slaughter cattle, rock lobster, mutton and chickpeas are forecast to increase in 2015-16. In contrast, export prices of wheat, barley, sugar and dairy products are forecast to decline.
Economic assumptions underlying this set of commodity forecasts
• World economic growth is assumed to be 3.1 per cent in 2015 and 3.4 per cent in 2016.
• Economic growth in Australia is assumed to average 2.5 per cent in 2015-16, compared with 2.2 per cent in 2014-15.
• The Australian dollar is assumed to average around US72 cents in 2015-16, 14 per cent lower than the average of US84 cents in 2014-15.