EXPECTATIONS for post-farmgate agribusiness conditions are improving, according to the latest survey released by National Australia Bank (NAB) Agribusiness.
Confidence levels for the next 12 months hit their highest level so far this year in the September quarter Post Farm Gate Agribusiness Survey.
NAB’s general manager of agribusiness Khan Horne said there was also positive news regarding current conditions.
“The agribusiness conditions index bounced back after a tough June quarter, with trading conditions, profitability and employment all up,” Mr Horne said.
“The index is still in negative territory, with the stubbornly high Australian dollar a concern for exporters, putting the pressure on profitability.
“Demand is also low in many areas, which has seen stocks increase for many of those surveyed and some job shedding.
“However, the index for business conditions over the next 12 months and expectations on profitability were up on the previous quarter.
“A degree of caution still persists, but we did see sentiment about the future improve in the latest survey,” Mr Horne said.
On a commodity-specific basis, confidence in crops broadly improved over the September quarter. Wheat and sugar were particularly strong, with wine lifting but still in negative territory.
While prices have dropped over recent months, for the post farm gate sector confidence in sheep meat has hit its highest level since 2009, up 23 points in the quarter. Beef also posted a solid increase. Poultry lifted to be broadly neutral, while dairy improved but is still in negative territory.
Fibres had a mixed result, with cotton falling to its lowest level since March 2009, while confidence in wool increased to +4 points.
Farm inputs were broadly negative, with confidence for both farm chemicals and farm equipment both falling.