2001-2002 Financial Year (ending 30 September 2002)
As previously announced last month at AWBs half-year results presentation, the Board is forecasting a full-year profit after tax result at the higher end of the $100 to 110 million range.
2002-03 Financial Year (ending 30 September 2003)
As outlined by AWB in its half-year results announcement last month, earnings prospects for financial year 2002-03 are to a large degree contingent on the current plantings of wheat and other grains, and the tonnes received by AWB later in the year.
AWB currently estimates that approximately 50 to 60 per cent of the wheat crop has been sown to date, which put in context, is slightly behind average for this time of the year. Weather conditions throughout the planting period to date have generally been less than ideal, resulting in delays to sowing operations. However, in the last two weeks, there has been some promising rainfall received around some of the large cropping regions, enabling sowing operations to begin.
Expectations over the last three months were for a slight increase in wheat acreage this year, after last years 24.4 million wheat crop. The chances of this occurring will largely be determined on the weather over the next month. It is likely now that acreage planted will be slightly less than last year.
Over the past month, the SOI (an indicator of EL Nino) has dropped dramatically, indicating potentially dry conditions. This has been accompanied by observed increase in ocean surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific. These two occurrences, and given the timing, point toward an El Nino developing later in the year. However, although the El Nino phenomenon is usually associated with low rainfall, NOAA1 forecasters predict in their latest June forecast that the strength will be weak to moderate.
At this point in time, given the above scenarios, expectations of an above average wheat crop is now unlikely, and that best, an average sized wheat crop can be expected this year of around 21.5 to 22.5 million tonnes of wheat.
For media enquires, contact: Peter McBride on T: (03) 9209 2174 or 0417 662 451.
For analyst enquires, contact: Michael Thomas on T: (03) 9209 2064 or 0419 535 227.
* National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) operate the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world.