press releases press releases en <![CDATA[Rabobank Global Dairy Quarterly Q1 2018: Turn the Pressure Down]]> A robust import programme by Chinese buyers, combined with a weather-impacted New Zealand season, were the perfect ingredients for the short-term rally in Q1 2018. In the background, the export increases, as production growth expanded across all other regions, according to the latest RaboResearch report ‘Dairy Quarterly Q1 2018: Turn the Pressure Down’.

The export engine has been running on most cylinders since mid-2017. However, weather risks have now been extended beyond New Zealand. Europe battled a cold front, Australia had localised bushfires, and there are drought conditions at play in Argentina.

“The peak period of milk production in the Northern Hemisphere still looms as a pressure point for the global market in Q2 2018,” according to Michael Harvey, Senior Analyst – Dairy. “However, Rabobank does not see the Northern Hemisphere peak milk flows completely overwhelming the global market. EU milk production growth started 2018 on a high note, but is also expected to trend lower throughout the year.”

Previous expectations for the extent of pressure on global markets to come in Q2 2018 have moderated, with a global rebalance looming in 2H 2018.

The European Commission does not intend to purchase any skim milk powder (SMP) at the fixed intervention price in 2018, instead focusing on clearing the 375,700 tonnes of intervention SMP stocks, which will continue to pressure SMP prices and likely divert milk solids to other product streams. Farmgate milk prices continue to weaken in Q1 2018 (albeit from a high base), and more downward pressure is expected. Meanwhile, the risk of higher feed prices is emerging.

Press release Tue, 03 Apr 2018 13:48:30 GMT 254047
<![CDATA[Rabobank Poultry Quarterly Q2 2018: Global Poultry Industry Challenged by a Pending Trade Shake-Up]]> The global poultry industry will likely be challenged by its biggest trade shake-up in decades this year, driven by a number of factors that might come together in a powerful way, according to RaboResearch’s latest global poultry report, ‘Poultry Quarterly Q2 2018: A Massive Global Poultry Trade Shake-Up?’

The global poultry outlook, has so far been quite good for most regions, with reasonable price levels and margins, as well as fewer avian influenza (AI) outbreaks compared to last year. However, market participants are focused on the potential for a big shake-up in global poultry trade in 2018; the biggest in many years.

“In the coming months, the global poultry market is set to go through turbulent times,” says Nan-Dirk Mulder, Senior Analyst – Animal Protein at Rabobank, “especially due to ongoing restrictions because of AI, the weak-flesh investigation in Brazil, and recent temporary restrictions on exports to the EU for one of Brazil’s leading exporters, as well as the pending ban on stunning for exported products into Saudi Arabia.” Other potential obstacles include the anti-dumping investigation into Brazilian imports by Chinese authorities, and NAFTA renegotiations, which could potentially shake up North American poultry trade later this year.

Many of these factors have the potential to shake up global trade streams and heavily affect prices later this year, affecting Brazil’s trade position. Saudi Arabia is Brazil’s number-one export market and limited alternatives exist for whole-bird exports. The EU is Brazil’s top export market for breast meat and also here limited alternatives exist, as most import markets prefer dark meat. Countries like Ukraine, Russia, and Poland stand to gain if Brazil loses market share but will not be able to fully replace Brazil’s position in these markets.

EU trade restrictions are impacting breast-meat prices, the Saudi standard is changing the whole-bird market, and the China/Brazil dispute and NAFTA renegotiations could potentially impact the dark meat market. Local producers and exporters who sell in the EU and Saudi Arabia will face rising prices, while whole bird and breast meat prices on global markets will decline significantly.

AI pressure is still significant, but the number of cases is lower than in the 2016/17 northern hemisphere winter season. China has shown the most remarkable recovery, with one of the most profitable winter seasons in years for the industry, thanks to AI vaccination, which has helped to significantly reduce the number of cases in China.

South Africa (despite the big listeria crisis) and Mexico in particular are still doing well, but countries like Indonesia, India, and Japan too. The EU is also doing relatively well and breast meat prices will rise due to Brazil restrictions. Russia and Thailand are suffering from oversupply after industry expansion, and they will be looking to capture some of Brazil’s lost market share in global trade.

Press release Wed, 28 Mar 2018 13:44:15 GMT 253920
<![CDATA[Rabobank shares risk on part of its SME loan portfolio with EIF and EIB]]> Rabobank has shared the risk on a part of its Dutch SME portfolio with the European Investment Fund (“EIF”) and the European Investment Bank (“EIB”). This contributes to further optimisation of Rabobank’s balance sheet and stimulates lending to Dutch SMEs.

The transaction relates to more than 3,000 loans to Dutch SME’s originated by Rabobank with a total amount of circa EUR 2 billion and will be guaranteed by the EU budget under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), which forms a central part of the “Investment Plan for Europe” of the Juncker Commission. 
Wiebe Draijer, Chairman of Rabobank’s Managing Board: “This transaction underlines Rabobank’s ongoing commitment to its SME clients. As a result of the risk transfer, risk-weighted assets will decrease by EUR 1.2 billion. Rabobank will use the freed-up capital to grant new loans to Dutch SMEs. Just like EIF and EIB we intend to stimulate lending to SMEs. We will transfer the discount granted to us by EIF and EIB to our customers. EUR 768 million of newly originated SME loans will benefit from this.”
“The EIF is delighted to be signing this securitisation transaction with Rabobank to support SMEs and mid-caps in the Netherlands”, said the Chief Executive of the European Investment Fund Pier Luigi Gilibert. "This new agreement will help to boost lending for small and medium-sized businesses across the country.”
Jyrki Katainen, European Commission Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: "Thanks to this transaction supported by the European Fund for Strategic Investments, Rabobank will be able to lend more money to local businesses in the Netherlands. Dutch SMEs will be the winners in this deal."
The risk transfer to EIF and EIB has no consequences for the client relationship: clients will keep their contacts with Rabobank, and loan contracts and conditions remain unchanged. Rabobank is a leading SME loan provider in the Netherlands with a total SME portfolio of approximately EUR 100 billion.
Joint press release of EIF, EIB, EC and Rabobank
Press release Wed, 28 Mar 2018 07:00:00 GMT 253939
<![CDATA[Rabobank publishes integrated Annual Report 2017]]> Rabobank published its integrated Annual Report 2017 today. The report gives an extensive account of the bank’s performance in social and financial terms. It illustrates how Rabobank plays a meaningful role for individuals, society and the environment and the progress made in 2017.

As a meaningful cooperative bank and a leading Food & Agri bank, Rabobank is committed to making a substantial contribution to welfare and prosperity in the Netherlands and to resolving the food issue worldwide. In the past year Rabobank furthered these ambitions with a new expression of its mission: “Growing a Better World Together”. The bank launched several practical and successful initiatives in the Netherlands and the rest of the world, resulting in more satisfied clients, ground-breaking innovations and improved financial results. The annual results 2017 were published on 15 February.

The integrated Annual Report 2017 also includes the Annual Accounts 2017. The Annual Report 2017 is accompanied by a compact infographic showing our impact on society in the Netherlands and around the world. The links below give a total overview of infographics, animations and the annual results for 2017.

Elements of this press release are considered by Rabobank as inside information relating directly or indirectly to Rabobank within the meaning of article 7 of the Market Abuse Regulation (EU Regulation 596/2014) that is made public in accordance with article 17 Market Abuse Regulation.

Press release Thu, 15 Mar 2018 14:46:34 GMT 253668
<![CDATA[FGH Bank sells loan portfolio to RNHB BV]]> FGH Bank has entered into an agreement with RNHB B.V. on a contemplated sale a part of its loan portfolio with an outstanding balance of approximately EUR 1.3 billion. The closing of the transaction is expected to take place in the second quarter of 2018, subject to necessary regulatory approvals and successful completion of the consultation process with the employee representative bodies. RNHB B.V. is fully committed to continue to serve FGH’s customers.

The transaction fits Rabobank's commercial real estate strategy. Loans and customers of FGH Bank that are in line with the strategy have been transferred to Rabobank in 2017. FGH Bank N.V. intends to phase out its activities in the course of 2018. FGH Bank N.V. would then cease to exist as a separate legal entity.
The contemplated purchase of the FGH portfolio fits in RNHB B.V.’s  strategy very well. RNHB B.V. has the ambition to expand its business through organic growth and selective portfolio acquisitions and welcomes the FGH clients within RNHB B.V.. RNHB B.V. looks forward to continuing to work with FGH customers. 
RNHB B.V. is a leading buy-to-let and mid-market CRE lending business, with knowledge about the national, regional and local real estate market. It provides loans for commercial real estate and for residential properties intended for rental or resale. RNHB offers tailor-made solutions for the middle segment of the real estate market and has both credit, real estate and construction know-how.
Press release Tue, 13 Mar 2018 10:55:22 GMT 253605
<![CDATA[Rabobank: Emerging Markets Set to Gain from Rising African Vegetable Oil Imports]]> The gap between Africa’s vegetable oil production and consumption is expected to widen further, triggering additional vegetable oil imports into the continent. Rabobank forecasts an additional 3.5m tonnes of vegetable oil imports (a 33% increase) by 2030, according to Rabobank’s latest report ‘Rising African Vegetable Oil Imports in the Next Decade, Emerging Markets Set to Gain’ Africa offers good potential for palm oil exports from South East Asia due to its competitive price advantage.

“Rabobank forecasts additional 3.5 million tonnes of vegetable oil imports by 2030 due to population growth in Africa. An increase of current consumption per capita will have an even stronger impact”, says Vito Martielli, RaboResearch senior analyst Grains and Oilseeds.

  • North Africa will remain the key importing region for a multitude of vegetable oil; importing sunflower oil from the Black Sea region, soy oil from the Americas and palm from South East Asia.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa will see the highest consumption growth, driven by strong population growth and a further per-capita consumption rise.
  • West Africa will become the most important consumption region, surpassing North Africa. It will see the biggest gap between vegetable oil consumption and production triggering more vegetable oil imports. In the medium term (over the next five years), Rabobank expects the region to remain a strong net importer. Where palm oil has good potential to be imported into west Africa.
  • East Africa offers the most interesting trade opportunities for palm oil, because of South East Asia’s proximity to Africa.
  • African markets in need of supply will source from multiple emerging markets (South-East Asia, South America, Black Sea Region), but the price advantage will support palm oil imports.
  • Increase in palm oil production in West Africa is not enough to meet regional demand. The import dependency can only decrease if viable options to boost local palm oil production are found. In this case more re-export of palm oil in West Africa can be expected.
  • Increased demand of vegetable oil potentially drives more investments in African refining capacity.
Press release Wed, 07 Mar 2018 11:04:20 GMT 253365
<![CDATA[Rabobank Beef Quarterly Q1 2018: Impact of Trade Agreements and Blockchain Technology]]> A number of trade agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and a proposed Mercosur/EU trade agreement, look set to start having an impact on global beef trade in 2018. At the same time, applications of blockchain technology are now being widely developed in the food industry, with opportunities to realise benefits further up the supply chain growing, according to the RaboResearch Beef Quarterly Q1 2018.

Food and tech companies are developing blockchain as a solution in response to changing consumer preferences, and the beef sector is no exception. “While many of the early applications have been driven by the desire to increase traceability and transparency, with a focus on food safety, opportunities do exist further up the supply chain,” according to Angus Gidley-Baird, Senior Analyst – Animal Protein.

Blockchain is superior to current solutions when it comes to sharing genetic traits, making it simpler to track productive performance. A chain including, among others, the producer, feedlot, farmer, and genetic organisation would be able to share performance and verify breeding values, which is all transferred in real-time in the transaction.

The shared-ledger approach of blockchain dramatically simplifies back-office processes such as transaction reconciliation and reporting: a benefit for both beef processors/packers and farmers. Previously, where reconciliation required collating and cross-checking paperwork from multiple sources, the technology now instantly reconciles the transaction between all parties.

Global highlights

The 11-member version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) looks set for formal signing in March (although respective governments need to sign off on the details before implementation). Gains are expected for beef-exporting countries Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and Canada—through reduced tariffs into key global beef importer Japan, plus reduced tariffs into smaller importing countries Chile, Vietnam, and Peru.

China is allowing more beef imports and importing countries, intensifying competition in the market. Chilled beef access has been granted for Argentina—the fourth country behind Australia, the US, and New Zealand to be granted such access. In frozen beef, Belarus has obtained approval, and two facilities were officially accredited in January. China has also signed a protocol for importing beef from France and the UK, and will likely begin shipments in the coming months. In addition, the first boatload of live cattle exports from northern Australia—the main live-cattle export region—arrived in January. This boatload is the strongest indication that a live-cattle trade may become more permanent.

A new proposal to allow Mercosur countries to send 99,000 tonnes of beef to the EU at a lower tariff level has been tabled as part of this long-running trade discussion. This is a significant volume, given total EU beef imports over the last couple of years have been between 204,000 tonnes and 270,000 tonnes. Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay are already the EU’s main suppliers (together accounting for 63% of total EU imports)—Brazil alone accounted for 107,000 tonnes in 2017. Mercosur negotiators are apparently seeking an increase, to 150,000 tonnes. This standoff may further prolong the discussions, which already run the risk of delay due to the Brazilian elections.

Predictions at the end of 2017 had US beef production growing by more than 3%, or an additional 360,000 tonnes. At the start of 2018, with updated cattle numbers, favourable market conditions, and given that large areas of the US are in drought, production increases have been revised by up to about 5%, or some 700,000 tonnes.

Press release Thu, 22 Feb 2018 09:55:01 GMT 253010
<![CDATA[Study ECFB, BDO and Rabobank: outside influence creates cross-border perspective for family businesses]]>

  • Family businesses with an outsider CEO are 7% more active on the international front
  • The greater the geographical distance, the more an outsider CEO contributes to the company’s profitability, which can run up to an astonishing 11%
  • Globalisation pays off thanks to a long-term orientation and a focus on sustainable business relations

The greater the influence of non-family members on the strategy of a family business, the better the company does internationally and the higher the revenue it generates abroad. Family businesses set themselves apart in the global arena by their long-term orientation and their focus on sustainable business relations. International success is contingent on such factors as a well-functioning labour market and a high level of interpersonal trust in the country in question.

These are the main conclusions that are drawn in the report ‘Expanding horizons’, a study conducted by the Erasmus Centre for Family Business (ECFB), BDO Netherlands and Rabobank. The report looks at how family businesses tackle globalisation.

Although family businesses are known for being conservative, their approach to international business is nothing short of expeditious. Over 60% of the about 270,000 Dutch family businesses export products; 70% invest internationally or have a foreign associate. What is more, nearly 60% have one or more subsidiaries outside the Netherlands.

It is only natural for family businesses to look beyond the border, given that they clearly stand to benefit from pushing their boundaries. To illustrate: internationally operating family businesses post a gross profit margin of 7.9% on average; this margin stands at 4.8% for family business with domestic operations only. Foreign markets not only offer growth opportunities and a perspective of higher revenues, but they also allow family businesses to spread their risks better and give them the chance to expand their product offering.

“Technological developments and freer trade have made it increasingly convenient and appealing to do business internationally,” says Pursey Heugens, Professor of Organisation Theory at the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) and Director of the ECFB. He goes on to say that family businesses are reaping the benefits of these opportunities too, especially in emerging economies. What is unique about family businesses is that they are looking for sustainable business relations with like-minded partners. “That’s what gives them a particular strategic edge in countries that focus on the long term,” says Mr Heugens.

One of the factors that determine the degree to which family businesses focus on globalisation is the level of control family members want to keep of the company. “Companies that are open to welcoming an outside shareholder or CEO to provide input into their strategy are generally more internationally oriented than their counterparts that aren’t open to that option,” says Joost Vat, Partner at BDO and an expert in the area of family businesses. The home culture also plays a role in Vat’s opinion: the more faith family businesses have in foreigners, the sooner they will decide to take their business across the border.

Family businesses are not always successful abroad. A problem that affects them more than the average company is a relatively poorly developed labour market, for instance if workers do not have the required qualifications. “The scarce talent that is available then tends to prefer an established corporate rather than joining a relatively unknown foreign family business, which is usually a little smaller,” says Mirelle Pennings, Director of Corporate Clients Netherlands at Rabobank. She goes on to explain that culture plays a role here too. “Conversely, in countries where there is a lot of interpersonal trust, such as Denmark and Germany, it’s easier for family businesses to gain access to the labour market. The same goes for local financing.”

The information on the globalisation of family businesses is based on two recent studies of the Erasmus Centre For Family Business (ECFB). The first study looks at a large number of countries and maps out how appealing the social and economic climate is to family businesses in particular. The study took a three-step approach. First, it was determined for 49 different countries whether family businesses did better or worse in that context than non-family businesses. In the second step, the ‘family business bonus/penalty scheme’ was linked up to a number of formal (statutory) and informal (cultural and social) location-based factors. The third step was to compile an international index based on factors that had a significant effect on the performance of family businesses; this index also included countries outside the original set of 49.

The second study is qualitative in nature and designed to find out more about how enterprising family businesses shift their operations to a foreign location. The study focused on companies from three European countries (i.e. the Netherlands, Italy and Switzerland).

Read the full report ‘Expanding horizons’

Press release Tue, 20 Feb 2018 13:00:00 GMT 252968
<![CDATA[Rabobank posts EUR 2,674 million net profit in 2017]]>

  • Net profit EUR 2,674 million (+32%). The underlying net profit rose in both the Dutch and international businesses.
  • Successful launch digital innovations; further rise in customer satisfaction across all segments.
  • Position in Food & Agri further reinforced both in the Netherlands and international.
  • Solid capital position: common equity tier 1 ratio (fully loaded) jumps from 13.5% to 15.5%.
  • Local Rabobanks allocated a cooperative dividend of EUR 45 (2016: 40) million from their net profit to investments in local community initiatives in the Netherlands.

“We are committed to being a meaningful cooperative bank, making a substantial contribution towards achieving welfare and prosperity in the Netherlands and to resolving the food issue worldwide. We are shaping our mission of “Growing a Better World Together” with passion and this is bearing fruit. In 2017 we accelerated our efforts to reach the goals set in our Strategic Framework 2016-2020. We further reinforced our position in Food & Agri in the Netherlands and around the world. The future Rabobank is taking shape with more satisfied clients, ground-breaking innovations, a stronger balance sheet and improved financial results.”

“We are proud that we are on track to achieve our goals. Yet our ambitions go beyond this. We must pick up even more speed, particularly in our transition and innovation efforts, to continue offering our clients the best possible service. We laid a solid foundation for this in 2017.”

“Our employees make the difference. They are the people bringing about the bank’s transition and we very much appreciate their efforts. Attention for talent is now represented at the highest management level. We are extremely gratified that the results of recent surveys show a rise in employee motivation to work for Rabobank. Thanks in part to our new mission "Growing a Better World Together”. Our mission confirms the course we are taking and guides our actions as a cooperative bank.”

“The rise in net profit was due in part to positive trends in the Dutch economy, to the favourable international F&A markets, and to lower operating expenses. Loan impairment charges fell by EUR 500 million to EUR -190 million, or -5 basis points of the average loan portfolio (the long-year average is 36 basis points). Net interest income remained stable, despite the low interest rate environment. The loan portfolio decreased by EUR 14 billion to EUR 411 billion, mainly as a result of the appreciation of the euro and flanked by transactions designed to reduce the balance sheet. Our market share in the mortgage sector in the Netherlands rose from 21% to 22% (including 4% Obvion). The mortgage loan portfolio decreased by EUR 2.8 billion to EUR 193.1 billion, due to a higher level of early repayments on mortgage loans and the sale of parts of the portfolio. In addition, we further reduced non-strategic elements of the commercial real estate portfolio. Excluding currency effects, the loan portfolio at Wholesale, Rural & Retail grew, as did the DLL leasing portfolio. Amounts due to customers fell by EUR 7 billion to EUR 341 billion. Around EUR 5 billion of this reduction was the result of currency effects. Private savings were stable at EUR 142 billion. Assets under management at local banks in the Netherlands rose by EUR 4 billion to EUR 44 billion. Staff expenses fell, due primarily to the restructuring programme in the Netherlands. The efficiency ratio including regulatory levies was 71.3% (2016: 70.9%). This is due in part to the agreement reached with the American authorities to settle past compliance matters at our American subsidiary Rabobank, National Association. The cost of compensating SME customers in the Netherlands with an interest rate derivatives contract was also higher than expected. We will continue to focus intensively on cost control to achieve structural efficiency gains. The return on invested capital was 6.9% (2016: 5.2%), a major improvement, but still below our target of 8%.”

“Rabobank aims to achieve a common equity tier 1 ratio of at least 14% and a total capital ratio of at least 25%. The common equity tier 1 ratio (fully loaded) jumped from 13.5% to 15.5% in 2017. The total capital ratio improved from 25.0% to 26.2%. This means that the capital targets for 2020 have already been achieved. The capital base improved in 2017 due to a number of factors including: the issue of new Rabobank Certificates for a nominal amount of EUR 1.5 billion, the allocation of part of the net profit to the reserves, and a number of transactions to optimise the balance sheet. Just as in 2016, parts of the mortgage portfolio and the commercial loan portfolio were transferred to institutional investors. Our expectation is that the risk-weighted assets may increase by between 30% and 35% due to the introduction of Basel IV measures. This estimate is based on the balance sheet at 31 December 2017, while Basel IV will not be fully phased-in until 2027. Rabobank will meet the new capital requirements on time and will, of course, continue to strengthen its buffers.”

“Rabobank issued EUR 2.5 billion in covered bonds in May 2017, and issued another EUR 1.25 billion in January 2018. In the coming years, we could issue up to a total of EUR 25 billion in covered bonds, in line with our objective to diversify and optimise the funding mix.”

“In 2017 we launched several digital innovations for our clients. Peaks is a new app which rounds up small purchase amounts and automatically invests the change. Tellow is another successful innovation which takes the strain out of bookkeeping for self-employed persons without employees. In January we joined the Digital Trade Chain (, a consortium of currently nine European banks working to build a block chain based platform for entrepreneurs. Rabobank is the only Dutch bank in the consortium. In the autumn we were the first Dutch bank to launch the IBAN name check service, which helps customers check whether the name and account number of a beneficiary is correct. Customers receive a warning if something doesn't add up. This initiative - like Peaks and Tellow generated through our employee ideas initiative ‘Rabobank Moonshot’ - helps tackle incorrect and fraudulent payment transactions. Over 200 million transactions have since been checked by this service. Dutch clients rate the Rabo Banking App as the best in the market.”

“As the leading Food & Agri bank which lends around EUR 98 billion to corporate clients in the Food & Agri-sector, we are uniquely positioned to help our clients produce more and better-quality food in a more sustainable way, while using fewer resources. Just as in previous years, the activities of Rabo Development and Rabobank Foundation helped some five million smallholder farmers in developing countries achieve self-reliance. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations recognised the activities of Rabobank Foundation in 2017 by awarding it the prestigious Jacques Diouf award. As part of our efforts to contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, we continued our cooperation with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and joined the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBSCD). In October we launched our Kickstart Food programme through a partnership with the UN Environment Programme and the launch of a one-billion-dollar fund to catalyse sustainable food production. In 2017 local Rabobanks allocated a cooperative dividend of EUR 45 (2016: 40) million from their net profit to investments in local community initiatives in the Netherlands.”

“In 2017 Rabobank laid a solid foundation for the next step in its transition. The environment is changing at lightning speed and we will boost our digitalisation and innovation efforts so that we can continue to offer optimal service to our clients. Our employees play a key role in this process. We will also continue our efforts to improve cost efficiency. The favourable economic developments of 2017 are expected to continue in 2018. The interest rate environment remains challenging, the geopolitical stage is unpredictable and the amount of regulation and legislation (on data and privacy for instance) continues unabated. Against this backdrop of continuous change, we will continue to invest intensively in our adaptivityand follow our mission of "Growing a better world together”. This mission forms the compass for our employees and gives us direction as a cooperative bank, responding to client needs and taking a stand on issues which impact our clients today and tomorrow."

Rabobank Press Office
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Rabobank Investor Relations
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Elements of this press release are considered by Rabobank as inside information relating directly or indirectly to Rabobank within the meaning of article 7 of the Market Abuse Regulation (EU Regulation 596/2014) that is made public in accordance with article 17 Market Abuse Regulation.

Press release Thu, 15 Feb 2018 07:30:00 GMT 252553
<![CDATA[Rabobank expects even higher price hikes on the Dutch housing market]]> Prices for owner-occupied homes in the Netherlands rose on average by 7.6% in 2017, and are expected to rise even faster in 2018. This is what economists of Rabobank write today in their Dutch Housing Market Quarterly. They expect houses to get 8% more expensive in 2018 and 7% in 2019. This means that in 2019 the average owner-occupied home in the Netherlands will cost some 300.000 euros. This isn’t all good news: not only can it make owning a home less attainable by a growing number of potential first-time buyers, it could also lead to higher debts for households.

Senior housing market economist Christian Lennartz explains: ‘We know from data from the Dutch Land Registry that an increasing share of buyers does not need external financing to purchase a home. But those who do rely on mortgages will find that they have to loan more money to keep up with rising house prices. This can also make such households more vulnerable to economic shocks.’ For the latter the economist points towards the high interdependency of the Dutch economy and the housing market, meaning that a downturn in the economy can have large effects on the housing market. And the reverse holds true as well, which became painfully clear between 2008 and 2013: a housing market slump can strengthen economic crises.

Rising prices are a welcomed though by homeowners who in previous years had to postpone their plans to move to a new home, because they still had an underwater mortgage. Now that the market value of their house is higher than their mortgage, it is getting easier to relocate. This could help explain why in 2017 the number of sales has risen dramatically in regions where prices have increased more gradually in the past years than in the large cities. In provinces like Gelderland, for example, the number of transactions grew almost 19% year-on-year. In the Netherlands as a whole about 242,000 homes switched owners, compared to 215,000 in 2016. Lennartz: ‘We expect sales to keep increasing in 2018 outside the “Randstad” region in the west of the country, but do expect stagnating or even declining sales in the large cities.’

The two effects combined are expected to lead to moderately increasing sales in 2018 of about 250,000 homes. Lennartz: ‘Propensity to move is high among the Dutch and has even increased a tad in the past quarters. Combined with interest rates that are still relatively low, we expect demand for homes to remain strong. Supply is dwindling however, but we feel that the mismatch between the two will manifest itself in higher prices, not yet in declining sales.’ According to the economist the number of sales will start to drop when affordability will deteriorate so far that large groups of potential buyers will run into financing limits. This scenario isn’t expected until, at the soonest, 2019.

Read the entire Dutch Housing Market Quarterly here:

Press release Fri, 09 Feb 2018 08:52:18 GMT 252486
<![CDATA[Rabobank, National Association settles compliance program matters ]]> Rabobank, National Association (RNA), a California-based subsidiary of Coöperatieve Rabobank U.A. (Rabobank), has entered into agreements with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). The agreements conclude previously reported investigations involving Bank Secrecy Act / Anti-Money Laundering (BSA/AML) compliance program deficiencies and related conduct by certain former employees before 2014. Recognizing the material improvements the bank has made to its BSA/AML compliance program, the OCC has terminated the Consent Order issued in December 2013.

RNA has agreed to pay approximately EUR 298 million (USD 369 million) in forfeiture and civil money penalties and fines. It has also agreed to plead guilty to one charge of conspiring to obstruct a regulatory examination. Under the plea agreement’s terms with the Department of Justice, no further action will be taken against RNA with regard to its BSA/AML compliance program and related conduct. RNA has been under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, the OCC and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). Given the overlapping nature of the investigations and the bank’s remediation, no additional penalties or measures will be sought by FinCEN, which has also concluded its examination. The settlement amount is in line with the provision that was announced on January 2, 2018 and will be accounted for in the full year results of 2017.
Wiebe Draijer, Chairman of the Rabobank Managing Board, stated: “The findings at our subsidiary RNA relate to events that took place before 2014. The violations that took place are serious, regrettable and unacceptable. Rabobank is fully committed to conducting business with the highest levels of integrity, which includes strict compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, and standards in each of the markets and jurisdictions in which it operates. Rabobank and RNA cooperated fully with all authorities, who specifically acknowledged the bank’s cooperation. RNA, with the full support and backing of Rabobank, has made very strong efforts to strengthen its internal controls and risk management functions, which is also recognized by the authorities.” 
Press release Wed, 07 Feb 2018 20:00:00 GMT 252464
<![CDATA[Pork Quarterly Q1 2018: The EU, the US, and Canada Continue Their Battle for China’s Pork Market in 2018]]> In Q1 2018, global pork supply is forecast to increase further, mainly driven by the US, Canada, and Brazil. China’s pork imports have been slowing down lately, but are expected to pick up again over the rest of the year, according to RaboResearch’s latest global Pork Quarterly.

“The most significant story in global pork markets has been the slowing imports into China, which creates a risk of oversupplied global markets,” according to Chenjun Pan, RaboResearch Senior Analyst – Animal Protein. “However, we do expect China’s imports to pick up somewhat over the rest of the year, leading the EU, the US, and Canada to continue their battle for China’s pork market in 2018.”

China’s pork prices have been steady, due to a tight supply. This drop in availability follows capacity reductions triggered by stricter environmental policy enforcement in 2017. Despite the expected supply volatility in Q1, we maintain our forecast that production will continue to increase in 2018. While local prices will be volatile, pork imports are expected to rebound after a sharp decline in 2017.

“Expanding production in most regions means exports become more important in 2018. We expect competition in key importing markets, particularly in China, to intensify.” says Justin Sherrard, RaboResearch Global Strategist – Animal Protein. The feature article of this quarterly looks at several uncertainties that will challenge pork trade in 2018, most importantly the intensifying competition in key importing markets, particularly in China.

Other highlights from the Pork Quarterly Q1 2018 include:

After a relatively short period of strong profitability, pig producers have reinvested for growth. As a result, we expect increased production to reach the market beginning in 2018. The additional supply is expected to pressure pig prices and cutout values. This price decline could stimulate consumption and exports. The latter is concentrated on Asian markets, in which China plays a key role.

Faster growth in US pork production, of 4.3%, will necessitate the free flow of exports and healthy domestic demand. Strong exports to start the year have intensified the competition for market hogs, to the detriment of packer returns. This increase has already provided an opportunity for producers to secure very good margins for much of 2018.

Local Brazilian pork demand is expected to increase, along with the improving economic conditions. The expected stabilisation of feed costs will continue to support good profitability for hog producers for much of 2018. Pork exports to China in 2018 are expected to rebound strongly. Russia’s ban on Brazilian pork remains a wild card for 2018.

Press release Wed, 31 Jan 2018 10:58:43 GMT 251271
<![CDATA[Rabobank launches Rabo Frontier Ventures ]]> Rabobank is today launching Rabo Frontier Ventures (RFV), a €60 million strategic investment fund that focuses on high-potential early-stage Fintech and Food & Agri companies. RFV is a subsidairy of Rabobank Group and forms part of the bank’s innovation strategy.

Rabo Frontier Ventures (RFV) is completely financed by Rabobank with the related objective of providing an extra boost for Fintech and Food & Agri innovations. RFV will collaborate with and invest in Fintech and Food & Agri companies that offer new possibilities for customers in the long term and in doing so dovetail with the bank’s strategic direction and developments in society. The related focus is on four themes: Financial Cruise Control, Platform Banking, Emerging Technologies as a business model enabler and Data4Food.
RFV supports startups, spin-offs and scale-ups to scale up their activities and achieve collective value through partnership relationships with the bank. In addition to capital, RFV provides knowledge, expertise and the Rabobank network. Rabobank joins forces in this way in order to provide its customers with even better service en route to the future. 
RFV has already invested in various startups, such as and Peaks. is a European platform based on blockchain technology that facilitates e-commerce trade for the SME sector. Peaks is the spare-change investment app that was launched in November 2017. These startups have emerged from Rabobank’s internal ‘Moonshots’ accelerator programme. In addition to introducing internal innovations to the market, Rabobank is a partner of various national and international accelerator programmes aimed at enabling startups to move forward. RFV will build further on these successful innovations and partnerships. 
Harrie Vollaard, responsible for Rabo Frontier Ventures: ‘Investing in and developing strategic innovations is a key part of Rabobank’s strategy. We have, for example, already launched a number of successful innovations through our own internal accelerator programme. These innovations benefit both our customers and our long-term vision. We’ve been active in the worldwide FinTech and Food & Agri ecosystem for years and have succeeded in entering into various alliances. RFV provides Rabobank with an added vehicle for working more shoulder-to-shoulder with innovative businesses with the aim of transforming the Fintech and Food & Agri sector and building a sustainable and future-proof banking model.’
Press release Tue, 30 Jan 2018 11:00:00 GMT 251279
<![CDATA[Rabobank: Strong domestic focus in international vegetable market]]> The global market for vegetables remains a predominantly local market even in 2018, with a largely domestic output and marked by local preferences. Rabobank’s World Vegetable Map 2018 reveals the dominant trade flows in this market. It identifies international trends such as the emergence of greenhouse vegetable cultivation and ‘vertical farming’ initiatives, a growing shift towards organically grown vegetables, and the popularity of minimally processed vegetables.

‘Only around 5% of all vegetables grown worldwide are exported, but this percentage is increasing. Sweet potatoes are an example of a vegetable whose popularity has risen sharply in recent years, and EU imports of this vegetable have tripled over a four-year period,’ says Rabobank Research analyst Cindy van Rijswick. The Dutch economy has received a boost from the growing vegetable trade over the past decade, particularly in the EU market. The continued existence of a free-trade equilibrium is vital to the success of export-oriented vegetable-producing countries such as Mexico, Spain and the Netherlands.

An estimated 70% of all vegetables grown worldwide are sold as fresh, unprocessed products.
The market for this fresh produce has ceased to grow in volume in both Europe and the US. Around 5-10% of all vegetables grown are processed, while a larger portion end up as waste or are used in the manufacture of animal feeds. The freezing or preservation of vegetables contributes significantly to preventing waste, but at the same time the popularity of canned and jarred vegetables worldwide is waning. This coincides with a growing popularity of processed (i.e. pre-cut, pre-washed and pre-packaged) salads. Rabobank expects the market share of products offering a combination of freshness and convenience to continue growing steadily in the coming years. Reports on the health benefits of specific types of vegetables, for example, have been known to boost their popularity and create a concomitant rise in demand. In some cases, these vegetables are elevated to the (albeit unofficial and often temporary) status of ‘superfood’, as we have seen with sweet potatoes in the EU, kale in the US, and broccoli worldwide.

Within Europe, Spain and the Netherlands continue to take the lead when it comes to supplementing the supply of domestically grown vegetables. The Spanish and Dutch supplies of tomatoes, sweet peppers and cucumbers complement each other depending on the season as well as competing with each other, notably in the spring and autumn. The long-life onions grown in the Netherlands are exported across the world – from Africa to South East Asia – to supplement the local supply.
Morocco is emerging as a major supplier of fresh vegetables to the European market. In the Americas, Mexico has quite remarkably emerged as a vegetable garden to North America, showing strong growth over the past decade. The Mexican vegetable sector therefore stands to gain from good trading relationships with the US and the continued existence of NAFTA, just as Morocco benefits from access to the EU and Russian markets, and the Netherlands from the internal EU market. The significant trade flows from Spain and the Netherlands to the United Kingdom clearly demonstrate the importance of a favourable Brexit deal to the vegetable industries in these countries.

Contrary to a decade ago, when vegetable imports were confined mainly to North America, Western Europe and Japan, we are seeing major new import markets emerging outside these markets, says Van Rijswick. ‘India, China and the United Arab Emirates are a few examples of countries where vegetable imports have risen sharply in recent years. In addition to being massive producers of vegetables – combined, they account for two-thirds of all output worldwide – India and China are also becoming more dominant in vegetable imports and exports.’ There has likewise been a spike in Russian trade, despite the boycott imposed in 2014 on imports of vegetables from the EU, US, Norway, Canada and Australia. Countries currently exporting large volumes of vegetables to Russia include Belarus, Morocco, China, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Besides cultivation in plastic and glass greenhouses, we are witnessing a global emergence of new initiatives such as ‘urban farming’ and ‘vertical farming’. The latter involves cultivation under controlled conditions and without daylight, even though other systems of cultivation are also classified in this category. There is a growing interest in vertical farming worldwide, although the majority of initiatives are currently concentrated in the Northern Hemisphere, near large concentrations of consumers in North America, Western Europe and North East Asia. While vertical farming serves as a valuable addition to the predominant growing methods in specific areas and for specific crops, Rabobank does not expect it to take over from traditional and greenhouse vegetable cultivation.

Please find Rabobank’s World Vegetable Map 2018 here.

Press release Tue, 23 Jan 2018 11:13:27 GMT 250989
<![CDATA[Pim Mol succeeds Pierre van Hedel as managing director of the Rabobank Foundation]]> The Supervisory Board of the Rabobank Foundation has appointed Pim Mol as managing director with effect from 1 February 2018. He succeeds Pierre van Hedel, who will be retiring in 2018.

Ankie Wijnen, chairman of Rabobank Foundation’s Supervisory Board, said: “We’re very happy that in Pim we have found a worthy successor to Pierre. Pim is someone who inspires others and has a coaching leadership style. He’s a good networker and a real bridge builder. Under Pierres management, the Rabobank Foundation has thrived over the past ten years and we’re very grateful to him for that. The Rabobank Foundation makes a substantial contribution to the international Banking for Food strategy. In the Netherlands it has focused successfully on improving the economic and social self-sufficiency of disadvantaged people.”

Pim Mol joined the Rabobank organisation in 2007. Prior to that he had enjoyed a long career as a private banker at MeesPierson, later Fortis MeesPierson, where he managed MeesPierson in the Netherlands and subsequently joined the international MeesPierson private banking board. At Rabobank, Pim spent his first six years running the Private Banking directorate. After that he became Communications & Corporate Affairs Director. Pim graduated from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in macroeconomics. He is married and has three children.

Pim Mol: “With my background in corporate social responsibility and the activities I have undertaken for civil-society organisations during my career, I consider it a great honour to be taking over from Pierre as head of the Rabobank Foundation. The Rabobank Foundation has established a unique position in the Netherlands and abroad over the past 43 years. This means that the Rabobank Foundation is able to make a substantial contribution to Rabobank’s mission: Growing a better world together.”

Pierre van Hedel joined Rabobank in 1978 and, after holding a number of positions, moved to the Rabobank Foundation ten years ago. “In the Netherlands and abroad there are millions of disadvantaged people. Our knowledge and expertise as a cooperative bank are of great value in this respect. The philosophy of self-sufficiency is deeply rooted in the Rabobank and that’s reflected in the work of the Rabobank Foundation. It is extremely fulfilling to be able to play a part in this work, and I’ll continue to do so even after my departure. Before I retire, I will spend a few months working on projects for the Rabobank and the Rabobank Foundation. And my retirement won’t mean an end to my involvement.”

Full details of the Rabobank Foundation can be found at:

Press release Tue, 09 Jan 2018 09:15:32 GMT 250787
<![CDATA[California-based Rabobank National Association takes Q4 provision]]> Rabobank, National Association (“RNA”), a California-based subsidiary of Coöperatieve Rabobank, U.A. (“Rabobank”), has taken a Q4 2017 provision of approximately EUR 310 million in anticipation of a settlement connected to previously disclosed investigations.

RNA has been under investigation since 2013 by the U.S. Department of Justice and other U.S. authorities for possible violations of the U.S. Bank Secrecy Act and other regulations and statutes in relation to its historical AML compliance program, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s (“OCC”) examination of that program in the past. RNA is cooperating with the investigations, and more recently has been engaged in discussions to settle these matters. As a result, RNA has taken a provision in its Q4 2017 financial results for a potential settlement, which will likely include a guilty plea by RNA to a single offense related to former employees’ withholding of information from RNA’s prudential regulator, the OCC, nearly five years ago. Rabobank believes that these investigations will come to a final conclusion in Q1 2018, and will not comment further on the matter at this time given that discussions are on-going.

Press release Tue, 02 Jan 2018 18:00:00 GMT 250065
<![CDATA[Rabobank Global Dairy Quarterly Q4: Rising Tide of Milk Weighs on Sentiment]]> Pressure will continue to build in global dairy markets. This is due to waning global market sentiment in Q3 2017, as growth in the exportable surpluses across the export regions gained momentum. This growth will continue to expand in the coming period, according to the latest RaboResearch report ‘Dairy Quarterly Q4 2017: Rising Tide of Milk Weighs on Sentiment’.

“Growth in milk supply—which turned positive in Q2 2017—accelerated in Q3 2017, but the growth in the exportable surpluses has not come without its challenges,” says Michael Harvey, Senior Analyst – Dairy at Rabobank. In particular, the Oceania spring peak has stumbled due to unfavourable weather conditions. “Growth in the global exportable dairy surpluses will continue to expand in the coming period, pressuring global markets.”

Meanwhile, geopolitical tensions and dairy policy uncertainty are contributing to the weaker market sentiment and remain key factors to monitor. Attention is now squarely fixed on production trends in Europe in the coming six months. Growth in production is expanding, but milk price signals and efforts to curb production loom as disruptors.

Meanwhile, a tinkering of the intervention scheme next season may see an increase in milk diverted to cheese and whole milk powder production in Europe.

However, Rabobank does not expect exportable surpluses to completely overwhelm global markets—helped by strategies to limit supply growth from processors.

As expected, China’s robust import programme has continued in the past few months, assisted by lower-than-expected milk supply and some improvements in demand.

Press release Wed, 20 Dec 2017 16:41:01 GMT 249899
<![CDATA[Rabobank confirms ECB capital requirements 2018]]> Rabobank has received notification of the ECB’s final decision concerning the own funds requirements that it has to meet as of 1 January 2018, following the results of the 2017 Supervisory Review and Evaluation Process (SREP).

The decision requires that Coöperatieve Rabobank U.A. (“Rabobank”) maintains a total SREP Capital requirement of 9.75% on a consolidated and unconsolidated basis. The requirement consists of a 8% minimum own funds requirement and a 1.75% Pillar 2 requirement.
The total CET1 minimum requirement is 6.25% consisting of the minimum Pillar 1 requirement (4.5%) and the Pillar 2 requirement (1.75%). In addition, Rabobank should comply with the phasing in combined buffer requirements consisting of a Capital Conservation Buffer (1.875%) and a Systemic Risk Buffer imposed by the Dutch Central Bank (“DNB”) of 2.25% in 2018. This translates into an aggregate 10.375% CET1 requirement for 2018.
In 2019 the CET1 requirement will increase, as both the Capital Conservation Buffer and the Systemic Risk Buffer requirements will become fully phased-in (2.50% and 3.00% respectively). This will result in an expected aggregate CET1 requirement of 11.75% in 2019.  Rabobank has a CET1 ratio target of at least 14%. 
Since 2017 the Pillar 2 surcharge has been split by the ECB into the aforementioned Pillar 2 requirement and a Pillar 2 guidance. The 10.375% CET1 requirement does not include the Pillar 2 guidance, which is not disclosed. The Pillar 2 guidance is not relevant for the Maximum Distributable Amount (“MDA”).  
With a fully loaded CET1 ratio of 14.7% on 30 June 2017, Rabobank already complies with the requirements for 2018. With a Tier 1 ratio of 18.1% and a Total Capital Ratio of 25.5% on 30 June 2017 Rabobank also comfortably meets its total SREP capital requirements.
Requirement on an unconsolidated basis
The decision also requires that Rabobank maintains a CET1 ratio of 8.125% on an unconsolidated basis. This 8.125% capital requirement includes the minimum Pillar 1 requirement (4.5%), the Pillar 2 requirement (1.75%) and the Capital Conservation Buffer (1.875%).  The unconsolidated CET1 ratio of Rabobank was 15.6% on 30 June 2017.
Press release Fri, 15 Dec 2017 16:00:01 GMT 249826
<![CDATA[Rabobank sells its Roparco mortgage loan activities to RNHB]]> Rabobank has sold its Roparco mortgage loan business (‘Roparco Hypotheken’) to RNHB. The business includes the underlying mortgage loan portfolio as well as its personnel. RNHB is a former label of Rabobank subsidiary FGH Bank. From December 2016 on RNHB independently continued its business as provider of mortgage credits on the Dutch market.

Entire Roparco mortgage loan business sold
The transaction relates to the sale of the entire Roparco mortgage loan business unit which comprises around 4,900 loans with a total outstanding amount of approximately 500 million euro. The Roparco mortgage activities, which were positioned as a standalone mortgage business within Rabobank, found their origin at Robeco and were transferred to Rabobank in 2013. The transaction to RNHB is in line with Rabobank’s ongoing strategy to further optimize its balance sheet and focus more on its core activities.
RNHB welcomes Roparco portfolio and team
RNHB is an established and licensed mortgage provider in the Netherlands committed to grow its mortgage business in the Netherlands through organic origination and selective portfolio acquisitions. RNHB welcomes the Roparco portfolio as a solid addition to its current portfolio. The existing Roparco team will also transition to RNHB, thereby safeguarding that borrowers will continue to interact with both the Roparco team and Stater as mortgage service provider.
Roparco customers notified in writing
The Roparco customers will receive a letter informing them about the transaction shortly.
Press release Fri, 15 Dec 2017 16:00:00 GMT 249827
<![CDATA[Rabobank Global Poultry Quarterly: Promising Outlook for 2018—Although Avian Influenza Concerns Are Rising]]> The outlook for the global poultry industry in 2018 is promising, with relatively positive fundamentals, according to Rabobank’s Poultry Quarterly Q1 2018 report. But a disciplined supply growth strategy will be needed, especially as uncertainties are rising—such as the possible return of avian influenza (AI) during the northern hemisphere winter and a rising supply of competitive meat proteins like pork and beef.

“The outlook for the global poultry industry for 2018 is promising”, says Nan-Dirk Mulder, Senior Analyst – Animal Protein at Rabobank. “This promising outlook includes ongoing demand growth in most markets, except China, and low(er) feed prices in 1H 2018, if not longer. But a disciplined supply growth strategy will be needed, especially as uncertainties are rising.”

The main concerns for 2018 are a return of AI during the northern hemisphere winter and the increasingly competitive market conditions due to rising red meat supply.

Global prices for chicken have remained strong, especially for whole chicken and breast meat, but dark meat prices have fallen. Competition from red meat will grow next year, amid rising supply and softening prices.

Global poultry trade will again be hit by volatility, driven by AI, exchange rate volatility, and changes in traders’ procurement strategies in response to earlier scandals in trade. New suppliers will continue to enter the market. Given these growing, but uncertain and more competitive market conditions, supply discipline will be important.

China’s industry is struggling, with winter rapidly approaching and many wet markets yet to be closed. This situation could negatively affect prices and global trade. The industry needs to further reduce supply in order to rebalance supply and demand.

The Brazilian industry is recovering from the ‘weak flesh’ meat scandal, and exports have returned to 2016 levels after significant drops in Q2 and Q3. However, the risk of Brazilian imports being substituted by new suppliers remains.

The EU poultry industry is performing relatively well. This is based on a favourable supply/demand balance in the European market (given restricted production growth in the aftermath of AI earlier in 2017), along with constrained growth in north-western Europe due to environmental regulations, which restrict expansion. Eastern Europe—especially Poland—will keep growing fast, becoming a major trade hub.

Currently, the fastest-growing global regions are South-East Asia and Eastern Europe. South (-East) Asia will remain very bullish in the next year, with ongoing growth of more than 5% in most countries like Indonesia, India, the Philippines, and Thailand, driven by strong local demand and Thailand’s clear leadership when it comes to global trade. However, recent expansion of the industry, at 7%, has probably occurred a bit too fast, when taking the current margin pressure into account.

The US poultry industry is expected to keep performing well, driven by ongoing strong local market conditions and improved exports, combined with a predicted record-high US corn and soybean harvest. This will likely push feed prices down.

Press release Thu, 14 Dec 2017 08:49:03 GMT 249782