You know it’s a big month when cash prices go from around the 15th to the 95th percentile in a matter of weeks. Well it was slightly longer than that but the range we are discussing was from mid-April to mid-July and the movement $250/t to $330/t. How many people locked in tonnage at $330/t levels? Or for that matter levels close to this? Did you think (or believe) it was heading towards $350/t?
Chart 1: APW1 multigrade $/t –8 year percentiles Kwinana zone
This chart shows the 2017 APW1 Wheat multigrade cash price in green against percentile levels for Kwinana..
The first four months of the year were not very exciting for cash prices and the risk/reward for forward pricing was not stimulating. The subsequent run up in cash prices occurred exactly when we were rain deficient in WA.
It is important to realise that no crystal ball gave anyone rain forecasts and if there had been a normal break this rally would not have happened to anywhere near the same degree.
While it is OK to admit that you did not know this rally would happen to prices it is not so good to admit you did not take advantage of the spike or missed it altogether. Sometimes, this can happen if you take your eyes off the prize as you are too wrapped up in your current “dry” situation.
In our field we recognise that $330/t is a level that requires a different type of marketing pattern. We understand that once prices get above 90th percentile pricing levels then production risk needs to be not taken out of the equation but heavily modified to achieve great outcomes. We understand that production risk is a real, and probably the biggest, factor in many pricing decisions but we also are aiming to achieve above average returns. You cannot achieve premium returns if you take the normal approach of conservative pricing with extra conservative production estimates.
We have a saying that BIG numbers require BIG tonnage to achieve BIG outcomes. It is mathematically impossible to achieve great outcomes without securing big tonnage at big numbers. Now this sounds obvious but back to that question, “How many people locked in tonnage at $330?”
Recognising that $330/t is a good number and actually taking action is very hard to do. This is why we are here – to take the emotion away and assist our clients to make the hard decisions.
We understand that many emotions come into play at these levels and in any upward market. Many growers assume that when prices go this high that they will continue and skyrocket. It doesn’t happen !! 90th percentile means that the prices have only been above this 10% of the time. It doesn’t stay up high and if you are trying to pick the top of the market then you are stuck in the greed cycle and not making good business decisions.
Ten Tigers have an in-house product, Active Price Management (APM) which assists in making decisions based only on the numbers not the emotions.