The global pesticide market was valued at USD 63.2 billion in 2014
According to the statistics of Phillips McDougall consulting firm in the United Kingdom, in terms of distributors, the global market value of crop pesticides in 2014 was US$56.655 billion, a year-on-year increase of 4.5%.
If non-crop pesticides are included, the total global pesticide sales were US$63.212 billion, a year-on-year increase of 4.2%. Among them, the sales of non-crop pesticides were US$6.557 billion, an increase of only 1.2% year-on-year. The exchange rate and weak economy in some countries are the main reasons for the growth of the non-crop pesticide market.
Crop prices were firm in early 2014, but weakened as agricultural harvests increased. Phillips McDougall pointed out that Thailand has depressed rice prices in order to destock. Glyphosate prices fell in 2014; while the market for fungicides and insecticides benefited from farmers' preference for more advanced products. Last year, the exchange rate had the same impact on the market as the previous year, with the dollar performing strongly against most currencies except the euro. In developing markets, increased sales have become the main factor driving the market higher.
If the impact of exchange rate fluctuations and inflation is not considered, the growth rate of the global crop pesticide market is estimated at 5.4%.
Latin American markets still recorded the strongest growth in dollar terms, but at a slower pace than in 2012/13. The region has also become the world's most important crop pesticide market, with sales of US$16.147 billion in 2014, a year-on-year increase of 15.1%. Among them, Brazil and Argentina led the growth. The 2013/14 crop in Latin America changed as farmers switched from corn to soybeans due to better harvests in the U.S. and lower crop prices. In early 2014, due to dry weather, the occurrence of Asian soybean rust (Phakopsora pachyrhizi) was relatively mild; coupled with reduced sugarcane production and lower crop prices, the growth of the Brazilian market was dragged down. Despite the restricted crop and pesticide trade in Argentina, the devaluation of the peso and the high level of currency accounts, the country's pesticide market has performed well, with good weather being the biggest positive factor. The market is off to a good start for the 2014/15 planting season, although lower corn prices have impacted corn acreage. In developing Latin America, its pesticide market has maintained steady growth.
2014 was a difficult year for the Asian crop pesticide market. However, pesticide sales in the region continued to increase slightly in dollar terms. The lack of monsoon climate has led to drought in some areas, while currency fluctuations against the U.S. dollar have also affected pesticide trade. Higher agricultural labor costs, lower glyphosate prices and weaker palm oil prices have all weighed on pesticide profits. Rice prices continued to decline, mainly due to destocking in Thailand. Although India has better market conditions, the lack of water in parts of the country due to weak monsoon climate has hindered the growth of the Indian pesticide market. In northern China, Indonesia, parts of Thailand and the Philippines, drought has also become one of the factors affecting the pesticide market; while the drought in Australia continues. In 2014, the Japanese pesticide market has recovered from the tsunami and the market has stabilized. Last year, the sales of crop pesticides in the Asian market reached US$14.644 billion, a year-on-year increase of 1.5%.
European markets benefited from warm winters and early spring, but parts of Central Europe suffered from cold and wet summers. Northern Europe enjoys excellent growing conditions, and the pesticide market is positive, however, there is little market excitement in more southern regions. Markets in Central Europe are generally good, however Ukraine has curtailed pesticide trade due to political unrest. Overall, European crop pesticide sales in 2014 increased by 1.8% year-on-year to $13.885 billion.
Unfavorable weather conditions, high crop inventories, and exorbitant transportation costs have suppressed the growth of the Canadian pesticide market. While corn and small grain acreage declined, canola and soybean acreage increased. In the United States, corn acreage fell due to lower corn prices, but soybean and cotton acreage increased. A poor start to the corn and soybean seasons has led to a lackluster market for pre-emergent herbicides. However, the summer growing season market was strong. Drought again affected the southern and western US and Mexican markets. In 2014, North American Free Trade Area (NAFTA) crop pesticide sales fell 2.0% year-on-year to $9.810 billion.
In other parts of the world, such as Africa and the Middle East, where crop exports dominate, sales of crop pesticides were US$2.169 billion, up 3.1% year-on-year. The Zambian market continues to benefit from immigration from Zimbabwe and South Africa, while Nigeria has increased imports, although many of its imported pesticides are re-exported.
The bumper grain harvest in 2014 has already led to increased crop inventories and lower agricultural prices, putting pressure on the growth of the pesticide market. However, the global pesticide market is still expected to grow in 2015, but not as fast as the previous year.
The corn market will remain weak in 2015 due to the record high corn production in the United States in 2014. Corn prices have fallen and have led to a decline in corn acreage, Argentina and Brazil have switched from corn to soybeans, and U.S. planting intent surveys suggest the market will do the same. However, soybean stocks have been high, and soybean production is likely to increase in 2015, so there will be great downward pressure on soybean prices in the future.
The wheat market is also fragile. Although Argentina's 2014/15 wheat area has increased, wheat area is expected to decline in the United States and EU-28 in 2015, while Canada's wheat area may increase. The market demand for rice has increased, and the price of rice is currently on the rise, because the rice inventory has declined after Thailand sold rice at a price cut.
The Latin American pesticide market is expected to continue to grow, but at a slower pace than in 2013/14. The main reasons include: the shift of crops grown in Brazil and Argentina; low crop prices and dry weather, further promotion of genetically modified crops will shrink the Brazilian herbicide and pesticide market; and Argentina's trade disputes and inflation. In developing Latin America, the market will continue to grow due to increased domestic market demand and improved economic conditions. In North America, Canada is likely to break the stagnation in 2014, and the market can resume growth; however, the US market lacks positive factors to support, because of the decline in corn acreage, corn prices, and glyphosate prices.
The prospects of the European pesticide market are unpredictable. Lower wheat prices and reduced subsidies will hit traditional EU member states, but Central and Eastern European countries should benefit from increased support, while lower production costs may offset lower crop prices. Markets in South Asia and Australia were hit by unfavorable weather in 2014 and are expected to recover this year.
Phillips McDougall believes that although the pesticide market is greatly affected by weather conditions, it still predicts that global pesticide sales will achieve a growth of 1% to 2% in 2015, with Asia and developing markets leading the growth.
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