15 September 1999
Australians expect ‘patchy recovery’

THE Australian Board of Agricultural and Resource Economics is forecasting a “patchy recovery” for Australian commodities in the coming year.

Its report predicts commodity export earnings in 1999/2000 to increase marginally to A$64.4bn (US$42.4bn), after dropping 4% last year.

Markets were expected to remain subdued and farm exports are forecast to be worth A$22.1bn in 1999/2000, slightly less than in 1998/1999.

Higher exports of wheat, rice, canola, wine, live cattle and wool, will not fully offset lower exports of beef and veal, cotton, sugar and dairy products, said the board.

The stronger Australian dollar and forecast to lower world agricultural commodity markets are forecast to put pressure on Australian rural prices.

Australian wheat prices are expected to remain stable in the coming year.

Canola values are predicted to fall by 17%, cattle to rise by 2.6%, wool to rise by 4.5%, cotton to fall by 10% and sugar to fall by 20%.

World economic growth would need to strengthen significantly for commodities to rise, the board concluded.

  • Financial Times 15/09/99 page 46