Shine set to come off Australian cotton prices – Rabobank releases outlook

Shine set to come off Australian cotton prices – Rabobank releases outlook

The shine looks set to come off Australian cotton prices in the coming 12 months, as global pressures start to make themselves felt in the local market, according to a recently-released commodity outlook from Rabobank.

While international cotton prices are in the doldrums and facing 32-month lows, with a US-China trade deal currently off the table, local prices have largely enjoyed shelter from these global trade woes, with Australian basis (the premium for Australian cotton) sitting at an unseasonably high level.

However, in its Australian Cotton Price Forecast – The Start of Softer Cotton, the specialist agribusiness bank says a combination of swelling global supplies and a tepid demand outlook will see local prices decline from their mid-May highs.

Despite this softening though, these prices should continue to provide positive margins to domestic growers.

The report says there are a number of positives for Australian prices, including demand interest from the world’s single-largest cotton importer China (as it seeks to secure non-US supply), weakness in the Australian dollar and current local drought conditions.

Report author, Rabobank cotton analyst Charles Clack says “the good news surrounds the Australian basis (the difference between the cash and futures price), which currently sits at an unseasonably high 1500 points”.

“Rabobank sees short-term basis remaining strong at 1200 points through Q3, but softening later this year ahead of the arrival of Brazil’s predicted six million bale exportable new crop,” he said.

The bank forecasts Australian ex-gin cotton cash prices at just over AUD600 a bale through Q3 2019, though this figure is predicted to fall in late 2019, predominantly driven by weakness in both cotton futures and basis “as weighty 2019/20 (global) supplies become available”.  Longer term, prices are set to touch AUD576/bale by Q2 2020.

Mr Clack says this forecast comes amidst a backdrop of slowing global cotton demand growth, an uncertain trade flow outlook and the incoming 2019/20 new crop.

Rabobank Australia & New Zealand Group is a part of the global Rabobank Group, the world’s leading specialist in food and agribusiness banking. Rabobank has 120 years’ experience providing customised banking and finance solutions to businesses involved in all aspects of food and agribusiness. Rabobank is structured as a cooperative and operates in 38 countries, servicing the needs of approximately 8.4 million clients worldwide through a network of more than 1000 offices and branches. Rabobank Australia & New Zealand Group is one of Australasia’s leading agricultural lenders and a significant provider of business and corporate banking and financial services to the region’s food and agribusiness sector. The bank has 93 branches throughout Australia and New Zealand. Rabobank was named ‘Australia’s Most Recommended Agribusiness Bank’ at the 2019 DBM Australian Financial Awards.

Media contacts:

Denise Shaw
Head of Media Relations
Rabobank Australia & New Zealand 
Phone: 02 8115 2744 or 0439 603 525 

Skye Ward
Media Relations Manager
Rabobank Australia
Phone: 02 4855 1111 or 0418 216 103