16 Feb 2012

Drop in most export commodity prices forecast

12:45 pm on 16 February 2012

Rabobank is forecasting lower prices for most export commodities this year. But it says beef will be the exception to that.

In a report for the year ahead, the specialist food and agri-business bank says prices for most agricultural exports will drop from the record highs of 2011, due to the eurozone debt crises.

But Rabobank market analyst Rebecca Redmond says prices are still high compared with five years ago and the overall outlook remains positive as demand continues to grow from emerging Asian markets.

A lift in dairy and sheep-meat production is likely, but Ms Redmond says beef is the only export likely to attract a higher price this year.

She says the United States is a large producer of beef both domestically and they re-entered the export market in 2009-2011.

But Ms Redmond says the US has had a major drought which will impact on their supply, which will probably mean stronger prices for beef for New Zealand.

She says horticulture faces the most difficult year ahead, as the kiwifruit industry feels the economic effects of the PSA vine disease.

Ms Redmond expects total agricultural exports will generate about $22 billion this year, about the same as last year.