Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz

Last week (ending 2 November 2018), the South African Weather Service (SAWS) noted that ‘the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is still in a neutral phase and although most models indicate a strong strengthening towards an El Niño phase in the early summer season, it is not expected to have an influence on South Africa during the first half of summer.’

The weather agency further indicated that above-normal rainfall conditions are expected over most parts of the country during early summer, which is November 2018, and January 2019. This is evident in the near-term weather forecasts which currently show prospects of higher rainfall over the summer crop growing areas of South Africa during the next two weeks. This could help improve soil moisture, which will subsequently benefit the germination process in areas that have planted and boost planting activity in areas that have not yet planted.

With that said, the period between late January 2019 and March 2019 could experience dry conditions associated with the expected El Niño, although some weather forecasters argue that it could be fairly weaker. We worry about the potential impact this may have on summer crops as it could coincide with pollination of major grains and oilseeds. We will keep a close eye on this in the coming months.

Aside from the aforementioned weather developments, the dam levels have improved significantly in the Western Cape province, thanks to the recent rainfall. –Wandile Sihlobo

Wandile Sihlobo, head of economic and agribusiness intelligence at Agbiz, shares highlights in his update on agricultural commodity markets. Click here for the full report on agri markets for the major commodities.