AEGIC News and Stories

Horizons #74: Is this as good as it gets?

Horizons #74: Is this as good as it gets?

Farmers with long memories tell their grandchildren that there was a time in Australia when wheat prices were so low that Australian wheat production had to be restricted to help drive up prices. At the instigation of the Australian wheat industry, in 1969 restrictions were placed on the quantities of wheat that could be delivered to the Australian Wheat Board. Each wheat grower was given a quota to reduce the build-up of excessive carryover stocks after the record 1968–69 Australian wheat harvest that coincided with increased world wheat stocks that suppressed global wheat prices.

Horizons #73: Sustainability labelling – where are Australia’s key grain export markets heading?

Horizons #73: Sustainability labelling – where are Australia’s key grain export markets heading?

Opportunities for Aussie grains are on the rise in South East and North Asia as consumers increasingly look at not just price, but sustainability and health benefits, when choosing grain-based foods.
Labelling on products can provide a consumer with information that helps the consumer to buy the product, or not. Recent research by AEGIC scrutinised the labelling claims on grain products in South East and northern Asian markets. We investigated the type of claims made on these products, the food sectors they are used in, and the prevalence of claims on new food products. And, we looked ahead at leading markets to get an indicator on the direction in which labelling could go.

Horizons #72: What’s behind the cost of shipping?

Horizons #72: What’s behind the cost of shipping?

Since the mid-2000s the bulk freight capacity of international shipping has grown strongly (Figure 1), on the back of a huge ship-building program in the period 2006 to 2012 (Figure 2).  However, in very recent years new construction of bulk ships as a proportion of the trading fleet has been very low (Figure 2), despite the volume of grain traded globally continuing to grow as has demand for other main bulk commodities (iron ore and coal).

Horizons #71: Poised for plenty?

Horizons #71: Poised for plenty?

It could be that many Australian grain farmers are soon to have another fine season; underpinned by the separate or combined forces of high grain prices and favourable yields. What’s the evidence to support that statement? Firstly, when Russia, the world’s largest wheat exporter, invaded Ukraine, the world’s fourth largest wheat exporter; it caused a cascade of problems that inevitably will support high wheat prices for months. Ukrainian access to its key southern ports from which it cost-effectively exports its wheat is no longer possible. Moreover, the size of the Ukrainian winter wheat crop harvest this year will be markedly less, as field operations that would normally support usual yields are no longer feasible. Ukraine’s main farm group is forecasting 18.2mmt of Ukrainian wheat production in 2022-23, a 15mmt drop from the 2021-22 crop year.

Horizons #70: Biscuits, cookies and crackers in Asia

Horizons #70: Biscuits, cookies and crackers in Asia

Some recently released market research from Mintel confirms there are sound growth prospects for the consumption of biscuits, cookies and crackers in Asia. As shown in Figure 1, Australia and New Zealand consumers already individually consume on average over 6 kilograms of biscuits, cookies and crackers each year. By contrast, consumers in many Asian countries individually consume far less; but the prospects for consumption growth over the next five years make those markets attractive to suppliers of the ingredients (e.g. wheat flour) for those products.

Horizons #69: What have the Romans ever done for us?

Horizons #69: What have the Romans ever done for us?

There is a famous Monty Python sketch that touches on “What have the Romans ever done for us?” where one character repetitiously asks that question; only to eventually receive a long list of things provided by the Romans — sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, public health, and peace.