Agricultural terms of trade index sees slight monthly increase

The terms of trade index for the agriculture sector has seen a slight rise for September 2019 compared to August 2019, increasing by 2.3%.

That’s according to figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO). However, this data also shows that the annual change in the index, from September 2018 to the same month this year, is down 5.3%.

The monthly (August to September 2019) increase in the index is down to a very slight decrease in the index for agricultural input prices – falling by 0.5% – accompanied by a 1.8% increase in the output price index.

While the input index also decreased annually from September 2018 to September 2019 – by a mere 0.1% – the output index saw a much steeper decline of 5.4%, accounting for the 5.3% fall in the terms of trade index across the 12 months.

Looking in more detail at the annual figures, the output price index saw falls in almost all sectors.

Crop output, animal output and animal products all declined in output value, by 2.4%, 5.9% and 12.5% respectively.

The output index for cattle (excluding calves) dropped by 5.8%, while calves fell by 0.9%. Sheep decreased by 5.4%.

The index for pigs bucked this trend, showing a substantial increase of 26.4%. Poultry also improved, though less impressively, with that index rising by 1.7%.

For crops, the index for cereals (including seeds) was unchanged, while vegetables saw an increase of 1.6%. However, this was offset by a 13.4% fall in output price for potatoes (including seeds).

In terms of animal products, these saw decreases in output price across the board, with milk, eggs and wool falling by 12.8%, 1.9% and 17.9% respectively.

Inputs

Turning to agricultural inputs, the slight annual decrease of 0.1% has been accounted for by a 1.5% fall in the input index for feeding stuffs – usually a significant driver of input price – while energy also fell by 3.1%.

This was offset somewhat by a 2.8% increase in the input index for fertilisers.

For feeding stuffs, the sub-indices for cattle (excluding calves) and for calves fell by 3.1% and 4.2% respectively.

On the other hand, feeding stuffs for both pigs and poultry both increased, by 2.9% and 1.4% respectively, while other compound feeding stuffs decreased by 4.7%.

The increase in fertilisers was accounted for by a 2.4% increase for straight fertilisers, and a 2.9% rise for compound fertilisers.

Other figures on the agricultural input index for September 2018 to September 2019 include: seeds increasing by 11.5%; plant protection products decreasing by 0.4%; veterinary expenses increasing by 2.1%; maintenance of materials and buildings increasing by 0.8%; and other goods and services increasing by 0.4%.

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