Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz

The weather forecast has changed overnight to a slightly favourable outlook for winter crop growing areas of the Western Cape. The next eight days could bring light showers of between 16 and 20 millimetres over the province which bodes well for the new season.

Given that the province has not received meaningful rainfall in months, the forecast light showers will not make any notable improvement in soil moisture. The winter wheat growing areas of the Western Cape need intense and persistent rainfall for soil moisture to improve. However, there are no signs of such rainfall in the near term. In fact, the forecasts for the last week (ending 1 June 2018) of this month show clear skies over the Western Cape, which could somewhat redress the moisture  during the next eight days.

Apart from the planting activity, the expected drier weather conditions also imply that the provincial dam levels could remain at fairly lower levels for some time. In the week of 14 May 2018, the dams averaged 17%, unchanged from the previous week, but down by 3 percentage points from the corresponding period last year (2017).

Yesterday (15 May 2018), we discussed briefly the trade dynamics, particularly the wheat import tariff which is yet to be adjusted twice, but the timeframe for the process is unclear.  The uncertainty around this issue partly resulted in a decline in imports in the past couple of weeks.

However, the most recent data shows a bit of activity on the import front. South Africa imported 16 230 tons of wheat in the week ending 11 May 2018. About 52% of this was from Poland, with 48% from the United States. This brought South Africa’s 2017/2018 wheat imports to 1.2 million tons, which equates to 63% of the season import forecast of 1.9 million tons.  – Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz

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.

Find previous reports here.


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