April barometer shows slight uptick in producer sentiment
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. and CHICAGO, May 2, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Producer sentiment toward the agricultural economy inched up six points in April, according to the Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer.

The barometer increased from 124 in March to 130 in April. The higher reading comes on the heels of two months of declines following January 2017's all-time high of 153.

April's 130-point reading represents a vast improvement in producer sentiment since the barometer launched at 106 in April 2016.

The increase is part of a recent trend of higher optimism among producers, said Jim Mintert, director of Purdue's Center for Commercial Agriculture and principal investigator for the barometer.

"Agricultural producer sentiment since December 2016 has been more positive than at any other time since data collection began, including the base period from October 2015 to March 2016," he said.

The barometer's two sub-indices also showed slight improvement with the Index of Current Conditions increasing from 120 in March to 127 in April, and the Index of Future Expectations improving from 126 to 132.

April's survey asked producers about their expectations for crop prices over the next year. While 54 percent said they expected prices to be about the same in 12 months, another 27 percent expected lower soybean prices. Only 17 percent said they expect soybean prices to be higher.

"This is quite different from a year earlier as the share of respondents expecting lower prices in the April 2017 survey was more than double the 13 percent of respondents expecting lower prices in the April 2016 survey," Mintert said.

Quarterly, the barometer also includes survey data from 100 industry thought leaders, such as agribusiness executives, agricultural lenders, commodity and farm organization leaders, as well as agricultural economists in the academic and government sectors.

Thought leaders' expectations for the health of the farm economy increased by 12 percent in April compared to January. But their optimism about the farm economy didn't carry over to commodity prices, said David Widmar, senior research associate for the Center for Commercial Agriculture and leader of the barometer's research activities.

"Despite the improvement in thought-leader sentiment from January to April, the group indicated they are less optimistic about both corn and soybean prices than they were back in January," he said.

Read the full April Ag Economy Barometer report at http://purdue.edu/agbarometer. This month's report includes additional updates about commodity price expectations among producers and thought leaders, and looks at producers' willingness to make capital investments - another measure of their confidence.

The April release marks a year since the barometer launched. A supplemental year-in-review report is also available on the website. The report looks at trends in the barometer and supporting areas, such as farmland values and commodity prices.

The free quarterly Ag Economy Barometer webinar is Thursday, May 4 at 1:30 pm (EDT). Register at https://ag.purdue.edu/commercialag/ageconomybarometer/update/.

The Ag Economy Barometer, Index of Current Conditions and Index of Future Expectations are available on the Bloomberg Terminal under the following ticker symbols: AGECBARO, AGECCURC and AGECFTEX.

About the Purdue University Center for Commercial Agriculture
The Center for Commercial Agriculture was founded in 2011 to provide professional development and educational programs for farmers. Housed within Purdue University's Department of Agricultural Economics, the center's faculty and staff develop and execute research and educational programs that address the different needs of managing in today's business environment.

About CME Group
As the world's leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, CME Group (www.cmegroup.com) is where the world comes to manage risk. Through its exchanges, CME Group offers the widest range of global benchmark products across all major asset classes, including futures and options based on interest rates, equity indexes, foreign exchange, energy, agricultural products and metals. CME Group provides electronic trading globally on its CME Globex platform. The company also offers clearing and settlement services across asset classes for exchange-traded and over-the-counter derivatives through its clearinghouses CME Clearing and CME Clearing Europe. CME Group's products and services ensure that businesses around the world can effectively manage risk and achieve growth.

CME Group, the Globe logo, CME, Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Globex and E-mini are trademarks of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. CBOT, Chicago Board of Trade, KCBT and Kansas City Board of Trade are trademarks of Board of Trade of the City of Chicago, Inc. NYMEX, New York Mercantile Exchange and ClearPort are trademarks of New York Mercantile Exchange, Inc. COMEX is a trademark of Commodity Exchange, Inc. Dow Jones, Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and S&P are service and/or trademarks of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC, Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and S&P/Dow Jones Indices LLC, as the case may be, and have been licensed for use by Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Related website:
Purdue University Center for Commercial Agriculture: http://purdue.edu/commercialag
CME Group: http://www.cmegroup.com/

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SOURCE CME Group

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