Australia: Food and agribusiness survey: Global markets

Food and agribusiness survey

Virtually all – 97 per cent – of respondents think that the BRIC countries will have a significant (33 per cent) or very significant (64 per cent) impact on the agribusiness sector. This data contrasts with our 2012 survey, in which 91 per cent of respondents saw the BRIC nations having a 'very significant' impact on the industry. This appears to be consistent with the global view that the BRIC countries as a bloc are having a lesser impact on global growth and that a broader group of emerging markets is driving demand and supply in the agribusiness industry. Parts of Africa and South East Asia (for example Indonesia and Vietnam) are seen as increasingly important.

The BRIC nations are still very important as producers and consumers. Respondents point to the huge demand coming from China, especially with rising affluence and the growth of the middle class. One respondent highlights the sizeable growth in demand for dairy products in China and the effect that this demand has had on global prices. Even so, respondents believe that China will become more self-sufficient over time. According to respondents, China's domestic policies appear to be geared towards national food security rather than supporting international agribusiness. This is likely to translate into greater M&A activity in the agribusiness industry by Chinese companies, a trend which is already apparent in Australia.

Although considered a major consumer and importer, India is thought to have less influence on world markets than China. It has different eating habits to China. Recent data published by the FAO indicated that it has the lowest rate of meat consumption in the world. In addition, India's sizeable infrastructure deficit prevents it from being a major exporter in agribusiness.

Brazil is commended by respondents for its status and capacity as a key global exporter. Respondents praise Brazil for its appetite for investment and its ability to increase yields per hectare. Brazil's enthusiasm for agribusiness is thought to be permeating into neighbouring countries in South America, such as Argentina and Chile, which are now looking to imitate Brazil's considerable success.

Respondents see Russia and Ukraine as significant players in the market, but believe they have so far failed fully to realise their enormous potential. Russia has not integrated with global markets in the same way that Brazil has, although respondents recognise that Russia's land capacity and attractive climate, particularly in the Black Sea region, could be harnessed to enable it to be a major exporter. Respondents expect Russia to be a significant wheat producer in the future.

South East Asia is thought to have significant potential, in part because the climate in certain regions is conducive to the agribusiness industry, but also because of the region's proximity to the major consumer markets of India and, in particular, China.

Brazil and the neighbouring states of Argentina and Chile are also expected to be key for sourcing supply in the coming years. Brazil is already an established player in this regard, but respondents expect Chile and Argentina to become sizeable exporters.

"The biggest opportunity will come from South East Asia. In 2015 there will be integration of border controls and this will increase transactions within the region. This will be very beneficial and will also help to reduce the carbon footprint."
Antonio Tiu, CEO, Agrinurture

East and sub-Saharan Africa offer a productive climate, but respondents express concern about the under-developed infrastructure and, in some jurisdictions, the uncertain political climate. One survey participant points to the potential of Sudan, but because of US sanctions Sudan is seen as high risk. Ethiopia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Uganda are also seen as promising jurisdictions.

Russia, Ukraine and the Baltic States are highlighted by respondents as having significant potential. The Black Sea region is believed to be especially attractive for investment, but respondents are concerned by the lack of infrastructure and the unpredictable political environment.

Respondents with Australian and New Zealand interests note the number of opportunities for Australia and New Zealand to supply to emerging markets as demand in those markets grows.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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