Australian Agribusiness resilient in 2018
Agribusiness activity has continued growing gradually in 2018 despite the key challenges imposed by the severe weather activity, the slowdown of Chinese economic growth and the trade war between China and the United States.
The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) reported that the agricultural sector contributed $49 billion to exports for YoY to June 2018. Meat and live animal export were one of the largest contributors with $13.2 billion in exports, including beef and veal exports of circa $8 billion up 11.9 per cent or $848 million for the past year. Grain products contributed $10.9 billion, down nearly 25 per cent due to the lack of Australian supply of wheat, chickpeas and canola. Wool, dairy and horticulture contributed $4.4 billion, $3.4 billion and $2.7 billion, with greasy wool, cheese and fruit export activity growing between 10 to 25 per cent. Industrial crop (cotton, sugar and wine) exports
reached $6.6 billion for the YoY to June 2018, supported by the
growth in wine and raw cotton exports.
China remains the main destination for Australian agricultural exports, reporting $11.8 billion for the YoY to June 2018, and comprising 24.1 per cent of the agricultural business activity in Australia. The large dependency on China agricultural trade activity imposes a moderate level of risk for the sector.
According to the Australian Farmland Index powered by NCREIF, the annualised total farmland returns (of a portfolio of corporate owned horticultural, pastoral, intensive livestock and cropping enterprises) increased 13.84 per cent for the YoY to December 2018. Due to the capital intense nature of the agribusiness industry, appreciation returns of 8.10 per cent plus income returns of 5.49 per cent for the YoY to December 2018. This result continues to outperform to the NCREIF U.S Farmland Index with a total return of 6.74 per cent comprising 4.47 per cent income and 2.19 per cent capital appreciation for the same 12 months to December 2018.