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India | Wandile Sihlobo | Forecasts of bumper harvests suggest subdued food prices this year

4 min read
The high-frequency data on both domestic and global markets reinforced our view that grain prices could be under pressure this year and that this, in turn, could lead to subdued food price inflation.This past week, the International Grains Council (IGC) lifted its estimate for 2020/21 global maize production from the last monthly estimate to 1.2 billion…
India | Wandile Sihlobo | Forecasts of bumper harvests suggest subdued food prices this year


The high-frequency files on both home and world markets bolstered our gaze that grain prices would possibly very well be below stress this year and that this, in flip, would possibly result in subdued food mark inflation.

This past week, the Global Grains Council (IGC) lifted its estimate for 2020/21 world maize manufacturing from the closing monthly estimate to 1.2 billion tons, which is mainly the most intriguing harvest on voice, and up 5% from the previous season.

The downward swing in world maize prices noticed a 21% y/y decline by 25 June 2020, with prices buying and selling around $162 per ton. Low world maize prices are doubtlessly going to remain the theme for the rest of the year.

The season is underway in the northern hemisphere, with the chop in most worldwide locations reportedly in excellent condition. Within the intervening time, in the southern hemisphere, the 2020/21 manufacturing season will delivery around October 2020. The level of interest is mute on the 2019/20 season, with the harvest process in corpulent swing in all predominant southern hemisphere maize producing worldwide locations comparable to South Africa, Brazil and Argentina.

What’s more, all these worldwide locations are forecast to agree with resplendent harvests, which is able to bolster supplies sooner than every other anticipated excellent 2020/21 season starting in October. Within the case of South Africa, the maize harvest is estimated at 15.5 million tons, which is the second-largest harvest on voice, and well above the annual home consumption of about 11 million tons.

This no longer only device that home maize prices would possibly very well be below stress in the arriving months, but additionally that exports would possibly furthermore enlarge, that would possibly positively enhance the agricultural trade balance.

By formula of wheat, the IGC lifted its 2020/21 manufacturing estimate extra from 766 million tons closing month to a new voice of 768 million tons. Right here is underpinned by the predicted largest harvest in Russia, Canada, Australia, Argentina, China and India, amongst others.

While some European worldwide locations reported dryness closing month, the climate stipulations agree with now improved seriously, particularly in the Murky Sea place, which is conducive for the chop. As a of the anticipated hiss in manufacturing, the 2020/21 world wheat shares would possibly enlarge by 6% y/y to 290 million tons.

This implies that world wheat manufacturing would possibly very well be below stress in the arriving months. On 25 June 2020, the enviornment wheat mark modified into once down 8% y/y, at US$212 per ton (I’m the utilize of right here the US Exhausting Crimson Frosty climate wheat).

Wheat importing worldwide locations comparable to South Africa stand to agree with the revenue of such an optimistic outlook, more so, because South Africa’s 2020/21 season would possibly result in but every other small chop thanks to a likely cut price in device planted.

Planting is determined to fall by 8% y/y to 495 000 hectares, essentially attributable to a decline in device in the Free Voice. This implies that South Africa will continue to agree with a resplendent dependence on imports, about 50% of annual consumption.

Rice prices would possibly arrive down

Within the case of rice, the 2020/21 world manufacturing modified into once revised down marginally from 507 million tons closing month to 505 million tons, which is mute a voice harvest. Right here is boosted by an anticipated resplendent chop in India, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and Bangladesh, amongst others.

The anticipated resplendent manufacturing would possibly subsequently result in a 2% y/y enlarge in world rice shares to 180 million tons. Identical to the aforementioned commodities, rice prices would possibly furthermore ease in the arriving month. World rice prices harvest already arrive off elevated ranges noticed in April, where there were potentialities of trade restrictions and a elevated level of uncertainty in regards to the 2020/21 season harvest. South Africa, as a rice importing country, stands to agree with the revenue of this sure outlook. The IGC currently forecasts South Africa’s 2020 rice imports at 1.1 million tons, up by 10% y/y.

Soybeans are every other valuable chop for world food safety, as a key input in animal feed. The IGC forecasts 2020/21 world soybeans manufacturing at a new top of 364 million tons, which is up 8% y/y. Right here is supported by anticipated resplendent harvests in the US, Argentina and Brazil, amongst others. This anticipated uptick in manufacturing would possibly result in a 3% y/y enlarge in shares to 45 million tons.

This implies, the enviornment soybeans prices would possibly furthermore be below stress in the arriving months, but this may very well be eased by a rapid push to rebuild the Chinese language pig trade, which has been devastated by the African Swine Fever. We doubt that may be the case despite the indisputable truth that. From a South African standpoint, the country stands to revenue because it imports around half of a million a form of soybean oilcake (meal). On common, 97% of soybean meal originated from Argentina all over the last 10 years.

These sure world grain and oilseed potentialities give a enhance to our gaze that food mark inflation would possibly very well be subdued this year, hovering around 4% y/y (from an common of 3.1% y/y in 2019). The predominant upside likelihood in the midst of the food mark inflation basket will essentially be meat, in half, thanks to nefarious outcomes and a imaginable uptick in poultry prices following the latest enlarge in import tariffs.

General, alternatively, grains, and likewise fruit prices would possibly offset the capability increases in inflation and withhold the headline quantity at decrease ranges.

Wandile Sihlobo is chief economist of the Agricultural Commercial Chamber of South Africa (Agbiz) and author of FINDING COMMON GROUND: Land, Fairness and Agriculture.

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