Investment in agribusiness has fallen in the region on the back of January floods.
Investment in agribusiness has fallen in the region on the back of January floods.

Weather big blow to agribusiness

AGRIBUSINESSES in the Mid-North Coast region have been affected by the adverse weather conditions experienced across Australia in the March quarter, reports the 16th Westpac and Charles Sturt University Agribusiness Index released yesterday.

The survey, now in its fourth year, includes producers, their input suppliers (upstream), and related transport, manufacturing, wholesale and retail (downstream) businesses, which allows comparisons between regions along with state and national results.

Westpac regional manager Scott Leis said agribusinesses on the Mid-North Coast decreased their capital expenditure to 0.06 compared with 0.05 for New South Wales and -0.01 across Australia.

“The national survey results suggest that all sectors of Australian agribusiness slashed capital expenditure in the March quarter in response to floods in the east mainland states and drought in Western Australia,” Mr Leis said.

“Although this brought down the overall economic performance of agribusiness across Australia, agribusinesses in general are confident about the longer-term prospects.

“Agribusinesses in the Mid-North Coast region showed

decreased business confidence, with 66% being confident about their performance over the next 12 months, compared with 78% for the NSW and 76% of businesses nationally.

“After hitting the highest ever level in the last survey, taken in September 2010, the economic performance of NSW agribusinesses fell back in all sectors and in most regions in the March 2011 quarter.

“The very strong result in September 2010 was a reflection of seasonal conditions which were the best seen in many years. Unfortunately, poor weather around harvest time hit grain quality which pulled the economic performance down.

“The good news is that capital spending by NSW agribusinesses was still positive in the quarter despite the fall.”

Westpac and CSU Agribusiness Index survey co-ordinator and CEO of CSU's Western Research Institute, Tom Murphy, noted the economic performance indicator for the Mid-North Coast region was 0 for the March quarter compared with a national result of +0.02 and a NSW average of +0.12.

The EPI ranges between -1 (worst result) and +1 (best

result) based on the average of results for business performance, employment and

investment indicators.

A “satisfactory” result is when the EPI is zero.

“The economic performance of agribusinesses in the Mid-North Coast region deteriorated in this quarter, compared with a

weakening for NSW and an

improvement at the national level,” Mr Murphy said.

“Mid-North Coast is expected to see an improvement in their performance in the June quarter.”

For a copy of the Westpac and Charles Sturt University Agribusiness Index visit www.westpac.com.au/agribusiness.



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