The big wet has put a dampener on local agricultural businesses.
The big wet has put a dampener on local agricultural businesses.

Coffs agribusiness dampener

THE wet start to the year is understandably playing havoc with agribusinesses across the Mid-North Coast.

The 16th Westpac and Charles Sturt University (CSU) Agribusiness Index released for the March 2011 quarter shows a reduction in capital expenditure and confidence.

“Agribusinesses in the Mid-North Coast region decreased their capital expenditure to 0.06 compared with 0.05 for New South Wales and -0.01 across Australia,” Westpac regional manager Scott Leis said.

“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.

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

The survey, now in its fourth year, includes agricultural 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.

“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 New South Wales and 76% of businesses nationally,” Mr Leis said.

“After hitting the highest ever level in the last survey, taken in September 2010, the economic performance of New South Wales 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 New South Wales agribusinesses was still positive in the quarter despite the fall.”



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