(Repeats Sept 6 story with no change to text)
WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Sept 7 Canadian farmers'
debt will likely reach another record high this year, while land
appreciation slows and incomes flatten, but the industry is
still in strong financial shape, the country's biggest
agriculture lender, Farm Credit Canada, forecast on Tuesday.
Farm Credit (FCC), a government corporation, sounded a note
of caution for farmers, who have racked up debt to record highs
for 22 straight years. Canada is one of the world's biggest
wheat exporters and the largest global canola trader.
While weaker crop prices have hurt farm incomes in many
countries, weaker Canadian currency compared to the greenback
has softened the blow for Canadian farmers, giving them an
export advantage over the United States. The U.S. Department of
Agriculture last month forecast U.S. net farm incomes to decline
in 2016 to $71.5 billion, the lowest since 2009.
Strong income levels and rising farmland values have kept
Canadian farmers in sound shape, FCC reported, in an analysis
based on earlier farm data released by the Statistics Canada
agency. Those incomes are likely to level out this year and the
rate of appreciation for farmland may slow, the lender said.
"We think we're going to be able to ride the wave of strong
income a few more years," said FCC Chief Agricultural Economist
J.P. Gervais, in a conference call.
Still, some indicators suggest farmers use caution.
The value of farmers' current assets, including cash flow
and inventory, was 2.38 times greater than debts and accounts
payable in 2015, down from 2.63 times the previous year, in a
liquidity ratio that lenders use to measure farmers' ability to
manage cash-flow and short-term obligations.
In a measure of longer-term solvency, farm debts rose to
15.5 percent of assets including farmland from 15.1 percent, but
remained below average.
FCC is assuming that interest rates, currently low, do not
rise quickly, and that the Canadian dollar continues to trade at
less than 80 U.S. cents, Gervais said.
Farmers' total debt reached C$91.8 billion ($71.46 billion)
in 2015, Statistics Canada reported earlier. Debt is likely to
hit C$100 billion by the end of this year, Gervais said.
($1 = 1.2847 Canadian dollars)
(Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by