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The Ags market, as with most commodities, remains highly volatile. The slightly weaker dollar, which historically has an inverse relationship with commodity prices is likely to have provided some support for prices in Q1. Cotton and Rice posted gains of 9.46% and 5.77% respectively, while Wheat and Corn posted modest gains. Sugar, a star performer of 2016 with a gain of 28%, has now corrected by 14% this quarter. Frozen concentrated orange juice futures was the biggest loser in Q1 falling by a whopping 20.75%, once again highlighting the volatility of the Ags market. With 4 straight years of bumper crops, inventories are at record levels and any uncertainty in growing conditions will likely add price volatility to the grain markets over the weeks and months ahead.
As reported in previous quarters, more consolidation and joint ventures within the industry are expected while prices remain depressed to create economies of scale and streamline costs for companies to survive through current business conditions. While we have seen a slight increase in activity within the ags space in 2016, Q1 2017 has been relatively quiet on the hiring front, with a handful of movements and departures. For Q2 2017, we remain optimistic in seeing more roles within Grains and Softs with our clients.