For the second time in just two months, the US-based seed and chemical giant Monsanto has cut its profit forecast for the current year, citing weak farmer profitability, falling herbicide prices and currency headwinds as the main factors weighing on profits.
Monsanto’s initial earnings guidance for its 2016 financial year was in the range of $4.44 to $5.01 per share but this was revised downwards in January to a range of $4.12 to $4.79 per share. Despite this, the group says the macro trading environment is “proving even more challenging” than had been anticipated and revised its earnings guidance further downwards this week to a range of $3.42 to $4.29 per share.
Deteriorating grain farmer incomes
Monsanto blamed this latest cut in its earnings forecast on the continued deterioration of grain farmer incomes after another year of weak prices, drops in the price of glyphosates from rival producers and negative currency headwinds from a strong US dollar.
The US dollar has rallied strongly over the last three months and is hurting US exporters. For Monsanto, South American farmers have less buying power for dollar-priced inputs and seeds as their local currencies, particularly the Brazilian real and the Argentinian peso, are at their weakest point in over a decade against the US dollar.
Since this latest cut was announced, shares in Monsanto have slipped by more than 8%, while over the last 12 months the value of Monsanto shares has plunged nearly 30%.