China will have the greatest influence on global agricultural commodity demand over the next decade, far greater than any other country, according to a poll of 350 North American food, beverage and agribusiness executives by Rabobank.
Sixty-one percent listed China as having the greatest impact on ag commodity demand over the next 10 years of any country or region, far exceeding those who chose India (14%), Africa (10%), Latin America (9%) and Southeast Asia (6%). Forty-one percent of respondents at Rabobank’s recent market forum said China would drive the global economy over the next five and 10 years, while 40% said China will remain the primary driver of global economic growth for the next 50 years.
"These results are not surprising and reflect the significant impact that China has had on the food and agribusiness industry over the past 10 years, global as well as in North America," says Bill Cordingley, head of food and agribusiness research and advisory for Rabobank in the Americas.
"China today has the second largest middle class in the world at 157 million, which will surpass the U.S.’s middle class in the next 10 years, so China’s demand for agricultural commodities is going to continue to grow," Cordingley says.
Notably, 68% of attendees named weather extremes/volatility as the single biggest factor affecting North American food and agribusiness in 2013. That concern far outweighed the next two closest factors—consumer demand (13%) and policy/regulation (10%).
Over 90% of executives at the forum said they expect U.S. corn yields to exceed 170 bushels per acre by 2025. Over a quarter (26%) forecast yields of over 250 bushels per acre, while 40% forecast yields between 200 and 250 bushels per acre. Those expectations compare to trend line yields between 150-160 bushels per acre in recent years, prior to this year’s drought-driven decline to 120 bushels per acre.
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