Agri Trends – 23 March 2018 – Grains, livestock & fibre

Grain prices take a heavy blow due to brewing America-China trade war

President Donald Trump announced yesterday that the US would be imposing tariffs on approximately US$50 billion worth of Chinese imports. China had since then announced their list of items/products that may be taxed which is imported from the US including pork, apples and steel amongst other things. There’s been speculation over the past month that China would also impose import tariffs on US soybeans, if the US proceeded with this trade action. International grain prices have taken a heavy hit this morning because of this trade war threat.



  • The lower calculated tariff of R394.90/ton was triggered on the 13th February 2018 is still pending publication. Since then a new lower calculated tariff at R293.74/ton was triggered on the 20th March 2018 which will have a negative effect on the producers during their optimal planting time.
  • The new maize and soybean harvest exceeds expectations and will mean that it will take longer to consume the stock of maize and soybeans locally. Due to a poor rate of exports, carry stocks for old season maize by the end of April is large. Typically, exports in previous years have made a significant contribution to reducing maize stocks. Maize prices are trading low and expected to remain low in the medium term. The accumulating stocks will place downward pressure on maize prices for a longer term. Unfortunately, international maize prices are also low because the world stock for maize is also high. At this stage, we must prepare ourselves for a new season of maize to be delivered in a period that will be characterized by a strong Rand. A strong rand reduces the export price of maize.


  • There are talks that the Botswana government is again considering closing their border for the following crops: Potatoes, Carrots, Tomatoes, Green peppers and Cauliflower.


  • Weaner calf prices are under pressure due to an increase in the number of weaners in the market currently.
  • Normally, the increased supply for weaner calves during the weaner season from March until May could weigh further on weaner calf prices. This will improve the price margin for feedlots.
  • During January 2018, an estimated 284 934 head of sheep were slaughtered. This is 18% fewer head of sheep slaughtered compared to the same time a year ago, and 20% less sheep slaughtered compared to January 2016.
  • During January 2018, an estimated 188 737 head of cattle was slaughtered. This is 10% less cattle slaughtered compared to the same time a year ago, and 11% less head of cattle slaughtered compared to January 2016.


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Published on Mon, 26th Mar 2018 - 11:30