Outlook 2017: Bear in Mind—Stocks Remain Large
Rabobank’s Outlook 2017 indicates relatively benign growing conditions for most commodities next year, but cocoa, soybeans and dairy are expected to see some price support.
Video: Outlook 2017
Rabobank's 12-month outlook for prices compared to the forward curve
Although the fundamentals of supply and demand are suggesting slight price increases for several commodities, huge price rallies are not anticipated in 2017, as global inventories are very high and will buffer price swings. Global currency movements will once again have a strong impact on the prices of agri commodities. European pork farmers will face more challenges from US producers who will export more competitively to markets that the EU currently serves. Staple food commodities like wheat, as well as corn and soybeans—key parts of livestock diets across the world—are being stored in record volumes, weighing on the prices which are expected to be paid to farmers next year.
Index funds could be back in the market towards the second half of 2017. The recovery of energy prices since the February lows and the strength of some agri commodity prices in 2016—may tempt investors looking for better returns to invest more in commodities. Also, the interest in commodity index funds, which offer a hedge against inflation, may be rekindled if fears of inflation reappear after a long period without concerns. As index funds saw a big decline—from representing 19 percent of the open interest across agri commodities in April 2010 to an average of 11 percent in 2016—there is ample room for growth.
The world’s most populous country has huge stocks of many key commodities, with estimates suggesting it holds 60% of global cotton supplies, over half of corn, 40% of wheat and 21% of soybeans. If China decides to begin selling some of these significant reserves, this could depress global prices for commodities.
The Agri Commodity Markets Research Outlook 2017
First published in 2010, Rabobank’s Outlook report looks closely at the prospects for the following year of 13 key food and agricultural commodities. The outlook sets out quarterly price forecasts with the ‘base case’ representing the most likely price trajectory in Rabobank’s view and ‘high’ and ‘low’ cases accounting for risk factors that are driving volatility in the market.
Where to go from here
RaboResearch Food & AgribusinessPO Box 17100 (UG A6046) 3500 HG Utrecht, The Netherlands