Home Agribusiness Rabobank tips sugar price to stay low and dent cane-grower confidence, but...

Rabobank tips sugar price to stay low and dent cane-grower confidence, but beef to stay strong


Increased sugar production in Brazil has agribusiness experts forecasting the diminished sugar price to remain low for Far North growers through to September.

The latest quarterly Rabobank Confidence Survey found lower confidence among canegrowers but a continued positive outlook from the beef industry.

The bank is forecasting the global sugar price to remain about 16.5 US cents per pound due to increased production estimates in Brazil.

Rabobank’s North Queensland regional manager Trent McIndoe said grower confidence was also impacted by Cyclone Debbie, marketing disputes and government policies.

“We’ve seen over the past couple of months that sugar prices have been returning to the lower levels seen a year ago,” he said.

“There is definitely a lot of disappointment in the price fall, particularly after the highs seen in the final quarter of last year.”

Brazil is the largest sugar exporter in the world.

Canegrowers are most concerned about prices, with 63 per cent of producers blaming commodity prices for the confidence shortfall, with a further 27 per cent blaming government intervention and policies.

About 18 per cent of producers reported a positive outlook, 21 per cent expected economic conditions to worsen and 52 per cent expect similar conditions to the previous 12 months.

But Mr McIndoe said were “significantly” more positive in their outlook on the back of strong prices in processed and live export markets.

“We’re continuing to see substantial buyer interest, particularly for the more premium, well-established cattle properties,” Mr McIndoe said.

“If livestock prices continue to hold out this year, I expect we’ll start seeing a lot more activity in the property market, particularly if we can get a break in the season.”

About 90 per cent of the region’s farmers are looking to increase or maintain investment over the next 12 months.

A comprehensive monitor of outlook and sentiment in Australian rural industries, the

Rabobank Rural Confidence Survey questions an average of 1000 primary producers.

It has been conducted since 2000 by an independent research organisation.

The next results are scheduled for release in September 2017.