Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/20/2012 -- BMI View:The Australian agriculture sector is receiving increased scrutiny from the government. First, we note that there have been calls by the Senate to introduce a new agricultural body to represent farmers and agribusiness in policy-making. However, protests from the existing National Farmers' Federation suggest that this may not be pushed through without significant opposition from lobby groups.
Secondly, a working group was formed in June 2012 to consult on an ongoing survey into the policies towards foreign ownership of farmland. We maintain our belief that the government will continue its open approach to foreign investment in Australian agriculture so as to increase economies of scale and benefit the sector at large.
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- Beef production growth to 2016: 6.9% to 2.28mn tonnes. We expect Australia to remain a strong exporter of the meat over the long term despite growing competition from its US counterparts.
- Wheat production growth to 2015/16: 6.1% fall to 26.2mn tonnes in 2015/16. We expect Australia to maintain its position as a global leader in wheat exports; the fall in production over our forecast period will be due to high base effects. This is also in line with Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARES) forecasts.
- Whole milk powder production growth to 2015/16: 10.6% to 167,000 tonnes. We are forecasting strong growth in the whole milk powder segment, as export demand supports production growth.
- 2012 real GDP growth: 2.1% (up from 2.0% in 2011; forecast to average 2.3% from 2011 to 2016).
- 2012 consumer price index:1.2%(down from 3.4% in 2011; forecast to average 2.4% from 2011 to 2016)
- 2012 central bank policy rate (average): 3.0% (down from 4.25% in 2011; predicted to average 2.4% from 2011 to 2016).
We do not expect a repeat of the record exports Australia had in 2011/12. Australia sold 2.4mn tonnes of wheat in February, a 13.3% rise month-on-month and a 32.0% rise year-on-year (y-o-y), taking the total amount of wheat exported in the 2011/12 crop to 9.5mn tonnes. Exports are therefore on track to reach a record 21.2mn tonnes, according to ABARES's full-season 2011/12 forecast. Exports were supported by strong import demand from China as the country's livestock farmers switched to wheat for use as feed owing to the higher price of corn. Australia also sold massive amounts of grains to Indonesia, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand and Vietnam.
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