Mexican grain and oilseed production expected to be driven by declining prices and margins, according to new Rabobank report; food consumption in country remains vulnerable to income and price effects

MEXICO CITY , April 16, 2014 (press release) – Positive Year Ahead, but Full of Challenges

Rabobank has published a new report on the outlook for Mexican agribusiness this year.

In the report, the bank’s analysts say that Mexico’s economic growth is gradually improving, but food consumption remains vulnerable to income and price effects. The Mexican economy is expected to recover gradually in 2014, after a slow 2013, with Rabobank forecasting 2.9% growth, mostly occurring during the second half of the year.

However, sector-specific challenges will continue to affect agribusiness:

Grain and oilseed production is expected to be driven by declining prices and margins.

Animal and meat prices and margins are expected to increase, although disease is expected to threaten both hog and poultry production.

The sugar and beverages sectors are expected to face a difficult year.

“We identify five factors that will drive Mexico’s growth this year,” explains Rabobank analyst Pablo Sherwell. “Resumption of exports to the U.S., increased competitiveness of the Mexican manufacturing sector, higher government expenditure, timely public expenditure, and approval of important legislation allowing for structural reform in key sectors. We also anticipate the peso will appreciate slowly but surely, and current pressures on consumer prices will ease, over the course of the year.”

Sector Outlooks

Grain: Mexico’s grain production recovered from severe weather events during the past two years, but corn production remains constrained. Rabobank expects domestic grain prices to retain a bearish fundamental tone in 2014/2015. Declining prices and margins will be the main drivers for grain and oilseed production.

Animal Protein: The animal protein sector is likely to show positive margins as animal and meat prices are expected to be on the upside, while feed costs will remain constrained. Due to health issues, such as PEDv in North America, a severe contraction in hog supplies is expected. Poultry market expansion is likely but could be threatened by the return of avian influenza. Beef production remains constrained due to continued contraction of the herd.

Sugar: The Mexican sugar industry continues to suffer low prices and tight margins. As sugar production increases and consumption weakens relatively, exports will become the wild card for domestic prices. However, as supplies remain ample in the U.S. (Mexico’s primary and preferred market for sugar exports) and the rest of the world, exports will remain a challenge.

Beverages: The soft drinks market will go through a challenging year, with sales expected to weaken as a result of an income and price effect. The slowdown of the economy in 2013 and the slow recovery in 2014 suggests that volume sales will be sluggish; in addition, sugared soft drink prices have increased due to a new tax.

A full copy of the report on the Mexican agribusiness outlook for 2014 is available to media upon request.

Rabobank Group is a global financial services leader providing wholesale and retail banking, leasing, real estate services, and renewable energy project financing. Founded over a century ago, Rabobank is one of the largest banks in the world, with nearly $1 trillion in assets and operations in more than 40 countries. In North America, Rabobank is a premier bank to the food, beverage and agribusiness industry. Rabobank’s Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory team is comprised of more than 80 analysts around the world who provide expert analysis, insight and counsel to Rabobank clients about trends, issues and developments in all sectors of agriculture.

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