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The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) in Hanoi forecasts a growth slowdown in Vietnam’s 2018/19 cotton imports. A five percent growth rate is anticipated, which falls starkly below the 28 percent average annual growth rate recorded between 2011/12 and 2016/17. The outlook reflects Vietnamese cotton’s lowest annual growth rate since its dip in 2011/12. Lackluster investment in the cotton spinning sector, uncertainty over global trade deals, and more competition from cotton producing countries have all contributed to slow growth.

Because global cotton demand growth is forecast to remain relatively flat at a two percent year-on-year rate in 2018/19, the US market share of Vietnam’s cotton imports is all the more important to American exporters of cotton. 54 percent of Vietnam’s total cotton imports in 2018/19 will be from US origins, up from just 42 percent in 2015/16. However, new entrants into the Vietnamese textile export market including Canada, Mexico, and Peru—countries that have all opted for free trade expansion with Vietnam by recently entering into the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)—may threaten the US’ commanding trade position in the sector. The USDA predicts a 20 percent increase in Vietnamese textile and garment exports to CPTPP countries, to be valued at $5 billion in 2018. As Vietnam looks to expand growth in their textile sector, Gro Intelligence will provide the data and analytics necessary to stay up-to-date with global cotton markets.

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The United States Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA FAS) released several annual global sugar reports today. Key factors influencing the forecast drop in global sugar production are shifts in crop conditions, changes in crop management, and improvements in agricultural technology.

  • Brazil’s sugar crush is estimated at 628 million tonnes, a 11 million tonne decrease from the previous market year due to poor crop management and below average plant stock development. 

  • Thai sugar production is forecast to reach a record 13-14 million tonnes in 2018/19 due to favorable weather and expanded acreage. 

  • Good weather has FAS expecting a 2018/19 Colombian sugar production of 2.4 million tonnes, a negligible decrease from the previous year’s 2.48 million tonnes. 

  • In Guatemala and the Philippines, underperforming sugar production is expected for 2018/19. 

  • Harvested area fell in Guatemala to 255,000 hectares in 2018, a five percent drop from 2016. 

  • In the Philippines, unfavorable weather and lower crop sugar content reduced production expectations for both 2017/18 and 2018/19. Sugar production in the Philippines dropped to 2.3 million tonnes in 2017/18 from 2.5 million tonnes the previous year. 

  • In Honduras, investment in agricultural technology such as advancement in drip irrigation technology, better water harvesting, and improved sugar processing systems have increased FAS’s forecast production by 2.18 percent from 2017/18 to 562,000 tonnes in 2018/19. 

These reports reflect a total forecast year-over-year drop in sugar production of 8.839 million tonnes in 2018/19. As the sugar markets develop, Gro Intelligence provides subscribers with the data and analytics necessary to stay ahead of global trends.

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A swift decline in pork prices has incentivized Chinese pig farmers to send more hogs to slaughter. The country’s pork production increased 2.1 percent, year-over-year, in Q1 of 2018 to 15.4 million tonnes. A shift towardslarger, more industrialized hog farms in response to high production costs has increased output, dropping prices by nearly 30 percent in Q1. Many farmers are worried that prices will face greater pressure in the future and are therefore sending more pigs to slaughter, decreasing the country’s herd size 1.2 percent to 415.2 million head of swine. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) forecast Chinese pork production will rise 2.3 percent in 2018 to almost 55 million tonnes, while imports will drop 5.8 percent to 1.5 million tonnes.

China accounts for roughly half of the global swine herd and over half of all pork produced. Yet Chinese domestic demand is so high that the country still has to import a large volume of product. Shifts in Chinese pork production will have global market implications, and Gro Intelligence subscribers can utilize a breadth of data to stay up-to-date with ongoing pork industry developments.

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Brazilian corn exports are expected to fall in 2018/19, according to this year’s first forecast from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Brasília bureau. With the forecast set at 30 million tonnes, 2018/19 exports reflect a 3 million tonne decline year-over-year. The USDA projection is well below the 2014/15 corn export record of 34.46 million tonnes. Several factors contribute to this year’s forecast decline. Brazil’s domestic demand for corn has increased due to the expansion of the country’s pork and poultry industries and burgeoning grain ethanol sector. Furthermore, massive soybean exports out of Brazilian ports stretch the country’s transport infrastructure. Soybean exports will dwarf those of corn by 42.1 million tonnes, up from a 19 million tonne gap in 2016. As Brazil’s domestic industries siphon more corn volume away from the global marketplace, Gro Intelligence can provide subscribers with the data and analytics necessary to better predict corn trade flows.

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US President Trump has long excoriated Chinese trade policy, portraying it as “unfair” to American manufacturers. Temporarily restrained by more laissez-faire-minded advisors, Trump began to ramp up threats of tariffs, which were eventually followed through on in early March 2018. US soybean farmers panicked, as they are keenly aware of the power China holds over their crops. Fifty-eight percent of US soybean exports were shipped to China in 2017, and retaliatory tariffs in China are likely to be very costly.

Soybean traders, on the other hand, did not seem as concerned. While the net position dropped by 99,398 contracts (42%) on corn futures over the past four weeks between March 13th and April 3rd, soybean futures dropped by only 28,345 contracts (14%) during that same period—indicating managed money’s relatively bullish view. Thus it appears that the fundamental dynamics highlighted by the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Prospective Plantings report still hold sway over traders concerns. Released on March 29th, the report indicated corn and soybean planting intentions were down two and one percent, respectively. As sentiment continues to fluctuate, Gro Intelligence provides subscribers with the data and analytics necessary to stay ahead of the market.

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United States (US) corn exports are currently near their highest levels ever, and US Department of Agriculture (USDA) analysts forecast that exports will continue to rise due to decreased production in drought-stricken Argentina and Brazil. Japan and Mexico grabbed a majority of the weekly volume at 545,618 tonnes and 385,394 tonnes, respectively. However, cold, wet weather in the Midwestern US is threatening the corn crop there. Adverse conditions are already pushing planting back a few weeks. Farmers who plant their corn late run the risk of delaying the critical pollination period into the hottest part of the summer. This would result in lower yields, further stressing global supplies. As global corn markets adapt to changing conditions, Gro Intelligence subscribers can access and analyze relevant data to stay a step ahead.

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China’s No. 1 Document released in February outlines the steps the country will take in revitalizing its rural areas, and investment in China’s rebounding dairy industry was of top priority. After the 2008 melamine scandal, China became heavily dependent on foreign imports of powdered milk. Since then, the dairy industry has shown signs of growth. For the first time in 2012, China exceeded Russia in production of cow milk, and as of 2017 ranks fourth in the world. The USDA forecasts that China will produce 36.5 million tonnes in 2018. Domestic consumption of cow milk followed the same trend by exceeding Russian consumption in 2012, and China is forecast to consume 38.68 million tonnes in 2018.

The Development Bank of Singapore (DBS) published a report identifying future opportunities for growth in the Chinese dairy industry. It encourages investment in downstream dairy firms like China Mengniu and Bright Dairy, and further investment into these companies would align well with the No. 1 Document’s stated goal of promoting domestic dairy brands. According to DBS, fermented milk products like yogurt and cheese are projected to sustain greater than 10 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2021. As China starts to prioritize their relatively underdeveloped markets, Gro Intelligence can provide subscribers with the data and analytics necessary to stay on top of industry developments.

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Corn harvest is 21.6 percent complete in Argentina, but a persistent drought continues to cut down production estimates. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange, also known as Bolsa de Cereales de Buenos Aires (BCBA), corn projection tumbled from 39 million tonnes on February 15 to 32 million tonnes on April 5. Over the same time period, the crop percentage in poor to very poor condition escalated from 57.6 percent to 78.1 percent. High corn-producing areas—southern Cordoba, southern Santa Fe, and northwestern Buenos Aires—saw rainfall between six and 12 millimeters earlier this week, but the rain may have come too late to improve production. The precipitation may help Argentina’s soybeans briefly, as just 13.9 percent of the nation’s second crop has reached maturity as of April 5. However, rainfall over the next week appears to be scarce based on a Climate Prediction Center forecast. BCBA is estimating 38 million tonnes for Argentina’s 2018 soybean crop, which would be the country’s lowest total since 2009.

Argentina is a significant player in the corn and soybean export markets, so production shortfalls have serious trade implications. The country is currently cutting its soybean export tax 0.5 percent per month through December 2019. On Tuesday, Argentina adjusted its soybean export tax to be applied on the date of shipment, instead of the date the deal was agreed upon. The Ministry of Agriculture hopes that the date of shipment modification will encourage longer term contracts, since sellers know that they will face a lower duty on a future date. Gro Intelligence subscribers can monitor grain estimates for Argentina and other major exporters as crop production begins to shift to the northern hemisphere.

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Cotton prices for 2018/19 are forecast higher by both the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) and Cotton Outlook. ICAC’s newly released report has cotton prices averaging 84 cents per pound, drawn upward by the lowest projected inventories since 2011/12. The forecast calls for cotton at the highest average price since 2013/14, when prices soared to 91 cents per pound only to subsequently drop to 70 cents per pound two seasons later as China halted imports in an attempt to draw down domestic stocks. India, the world’s largest producer of cotton, has been experiencing yield losses due to severe bollworm infestation. ICAC projects a decrease in India’s harvested area by 12 million hectares in 2018/19.

Last week’s USDA Prospective Plantings Report projected cotton acreage to increase by seven percent in 2018. Coupled with higher forecast production out of smaller cotton producing markets like Brazil, this has Cotton Outlook, an analyst group that puts out the CotLook A Index, more optimistic on 2018’s global cotton supply relative to the ICAC forecast. The group forecasts production at 26.13 million tonnes, 800,000 tonnes higher than that reported by the ICAC. Gro Intelligence subscribers can keep up-to-date on developments in global cotton markets by accessing critical data and analytics.

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A severe drought in Argentina during the summer of 2017/18 has resulted in an estimated $3.4 billion economic loss, says the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange, also known as Bolsa de Cereales de Buenos Aires (BCBA). Corn and soybeans are under huge heat stress, with new production estimates lower with each report. BCBA now forecasts soybean production at 44 million tonnes, three million tonnes lower than estimates just one week ago. Many traders view even this reduced forecast as being too high. The current outlook for corn is more optimistic, with estimates relatively unchanged at 37 million tonnes. However, late-planted corn is now entering the flowering stage and will be more sensitive to stress, with early signs of crop damage already appearing in the form of stunted corn ear growth.

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Disruption in freight transportation of key agricultural commodities across Canada might hinder field crop market access. Total field crop production in western Canada was 70.9 million tonnes in 2017, three percent above the five year average according to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA FAS). But various factors are slowing down shipments, the largest being high United States (US) freight demand for fracking sand. Extremely cold weather, heavy snowfall, and high field crop delivery demand have also led to train car and crew shortages across western Canada. The two major rail companies, Canada Pacific (CP) and the Canadian National Railway Company (CN), have fallen short of fulfilling deliveries. The Ag Transport Commission (ATC) reports that in fall 2017, only 56 percent of freight car orders were fulfilled by CN.

The current transportation backlog harkens back to the 2013/14 transportation crisis that cost Canadian agricultural producers between $6 million and $8.5 million CAD. This prompted Canada’s Liberal Government to introduce a bill aimed at providing a long term solution titled the Transportation Modernization Act (C-49). The Canadian Parliament has yet to pass C-49, and now due to a worsening freight situation, newly proposed amendments will likely slow down its progress through the Senate. As Canada’s transportation issues unfold, Gro Intelligence can provide subscribers with the information necessary to keep up to date on field crop deliveries.

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g. No Waiver. Our failure to enforce any part of these Terms of Service shall not constitute a waiver of our right to later enforce that or any other part of these Terms of Service. Waiver of compliance in any particular instance does not mean that we will waive compliance in the future. In order for any waiver of compliance with these Terms of Service to be binding, we must provide you with written notice of such waiver through one of our authorized representatives.

h. Headings. The section and paragraph headings in these Terms of Service are for convenience only and shall not affect their interpretation.

Contact. You may contact us at the following address: 12 E 49th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10017.