Winter Wheat Needs April Showers:
Badly needed rainfall finally came to the US Plains and more is on the way. Nevertheless, winter wheat in many areas is progressing to the jointing stage under dry soil conditions. As an example, the percent of Kansas winter wheat rated as in good-to-excellent condition was 38% last week versus 56% at the same time in 2016. The condition of the country’s overall winter wheat crop will be revealed later today when the USDA issues its first Crop Progress report. We will be watching weekly progress in the Plains and also how US winter wheat is tracking against the five-year average at this stage of development.
Sugar And Oilseed Retreat Should Temper Food Inflation:
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) will release its Food Price Index for March on Tuesday. FAO’s February price index posted the highest reading in two years, driven by a sharp surge in global dairy, sugar, and vegetable oil prices in 2016. While the price index will likely show year-over-year growth in March, a recent retreat in sugar and vegetable oil prices could temper the forward outlook. Yet, avian flu outbreaks in the United States, a meat scandal in Brazil, and drought conditions in East Africa still bear watching in the coming month.
Mexico’s Avocados to the Rescue?
Peru’s avocado exports have slowed, as heavy rains from El Niño damaged the country’s infrastructure. Given that Peru is a leading source of avocados for Europe, consumers may be facing higher prices this spring. That is, unless exporters in Spain, South Africa, and—to a lesser extent—Israel, Chile, and Kenya can pick up the slack. At the same time, production from California is expected to decline by half compared to last season. Since US buyers are increasingly dependent on reduced Mexican production, we will be paying particularly close attention to US avocado imports when February agricultural trade data is released.