Excellent August rains saw above choke prices decrease from $260/ML to $155-$160/ML. Below choke prices dropped from $360/ML to $230-$235/ML. Murrumbidgee prices tumbled from $350 to $140/ML with the significant increases in determinations. The Goulburn received lower than average rainfall and prices only reduced slightly from $200/ML to $170/ML. Supplementary events throughout NSW helped maintain the lower prices.
The allocation market is difficult to pick at the moment. There is a lot of carryover in the system which, if held by irrigators, will mean reduced purchasing demand. Prices have been subdued by the prospects of decent rain in Spring however, September is now looking dry. This will increase demand in the short term. While global nut prices are low, growers may look at securing water for future seasons while the market prices are relatively low (compared to last seasons $600+ average prices) and therefore put upward pressure on prices especially below the choke.
Unfortunately, the wet August did not deliver significant inflows into the Murray. The dry start to September has seen prices increase in all valleys as irrigators acquire water to finish winter cereals and secure water for summer crops. Below choke water is now trading around $300, with prices in the $150-200/ML range for all regions.
The latest Bureau of Meteorology Climate Outlook is forecasting a high chance of exceeding median rainfall from October to December. Many are sceptical after recent outlooks have failed to eventuate.
The storages are in a good position compared to 12 months ago. Murrumbidgee storages are over 70% higher than last year. The Murray is about 17% up on last year although the large volumes of carryover are also contributing to this.