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Export confidence holds strong as Australian dollar rises

THE dollar is rising, but export confidence is holding strong.

The Commonwealth Bank revised its Australian currency forecast, expecting the dollar to reach US80 cents by mid next year, as the local currency hit US77c earlier this week.

The bank previously predicted the Australian dollar would only achieve US72c in the same time frame.

Meanwhile, CBA expects the currency to increase to US75c by June this year and US78c by the end of the year.

But that shouldn’t take air out of export tailwinds.

Special Envoy for Trade and former trade minister Andrew Robb believes horticulture will be the next big export commodity boom and industry expects it to boom big.

Almonds are a $1 billion industry thanks to the Californian drought and high value fruit exports from fruit fly-free Tasmania and already worth millions.

Even Australian celery exports have grown more than 172 per cent in three years, according to Global Trade Atlas and Australian Bureau of Statistics data.

Projections published recently by ABARES show overall vegetable exports would continue to grow by a further $126 million by 2020-21.

 This comes as leading agricultural bank Rabobank had predicted South America, and in particular Brazil, is set to dominate global beef trade this year with favorable currency rates, improved market access and increased beef availability.

The bank expects South American beef exports to lift by 11 per cent, according its new beef report, saying competition might even work in Australia’s favor as a means of sustaining supply into China and subsequently the country’s appetite for beef.

On the domestic front new country-of-origin labeling will be rolled out across Australia over the next two years to help support farmers battling cheap imports, allowing consumers to make informed purchasing decisions.

Federal and state government ministers have signed off on the labeling reforms, which will include a sliding bar scale to show where products originated and what percentage of their content is Australian.

This may offer some reprieve to producers, as Coles managing director John Durkan has come out and said he makes “no apologies” for leading the supermarket giant to drive down grocery prices.

The retailer boss said the tactics used by the chain to squeeze margins were “fair”, despite a Federal Court finding the methods used in 2010-11 — at the very least — were anything but.

And despite coughing up $11.25 million in fines for “unconscionable conduct”, the supermarket plans to continue the price cutting battle with rival Woolworths because Mr Durkan believes it is “the right thing to do for our customers”.

Source: http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/news/opinion/export-confidence-holds-strong-as-australian-dollar-rises/news-story/15ceee39bdb65ca390fb42d93b852899