6 shares leading the next Australian commodities boom

Forget metals and energy, soft commodities will be the next sector to boom

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China is clearly undergoing a shift from an industrial to a consumer-led economy, but how will it benefit our S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX: XJO) (ASX: XJO) companies?

According to the China Daily, US Edition, Coffee shops, burger bars, tissue makers and clothes stores thrive even as industrial companies suffer due to economic slowdown”.

Starbucks has opened over 150 stores in China this past quarter, the most it’s ever opened in its history. McDonald’s plans to open more than 250 restaurants this year, the highest in any of its markets.

So, what does this consumer-led economy mean for our S&P/ASX 200 companies?

Unlike the ‘good old days’ when Australian commodities consisted of natural resources like iron ore, gold, coal, and oil and gas, the new Australian commodities boom will likely be lead by soft commodities such as agricultural farming products.

The reason.

We produce an abundance of high quality and ‘safe’ agricultural farming products in Australia.

What does China have?

An emerging middle class seeking ‘safe’ high-quality agricultural farming products.

How big is China’s middle class?

According to research by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, slightly over half of the population in Beijing and Shanghai fall into the category of “middle class”, as does around 40 percent in Guangzhou. The same survey estimates that China has a middle class of around 100 million.

Here are 6 S&P/ASX 200 companies that are leading us into the next Australian commodities boom.

Select Harvests Limited (ASX: SHV)

Select Harvest is one of Australia’s largest almond producers.

The company’s latest annual report states Select Harvests is one of Australia’s largest almond exporters and continues to build strong relationships in the fast growing markets of India and China, as well as maintaining established routes to markets in Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

The company has been suffering lately from the drop in almond prices, however, managing director Paul Thompson said the company was robust enough to weather the downturn and expects profit for the first half of the 2016 financial year to be higher than the same period in 2015.

a2 Milk Company Ltd (Australia) (ASX: A2M)

A2M is a producer of infant formula and other dairy products.

In October last year, the company raised NZ$40 million to be applied primarily to fund increasing working capital associated with the significant growth in infant formula in Australia and New Zealand (ANZ), and China.

In its most recent guidance and outlook commentary, the company said, “As recently advised, infant formula is emerging as a more significant growth driver for the company than expected, with a current focus on sales in ANZ and in China“.

Bellamy’s Australia Ltd (ASX: BAL)

Bellamy’s Australia Limited is a supplier and marketer of organic baby food and formula.

Such is the unprecedented demand from China for its products that the company had to release an “important message” on its website to its local consumers when it was unable to keep up with demand.

This situation is due to unprecedented demand for our products during October [2015]. Although we have dramatically increased our supply over this period, this has been insufficient to keep pace and this, in turn, has meant that we have had to supply our supermarket and pharmacy customers with limited stocks that are quickly exhausted.”

Blackmores Limited (ASX: BKL)

Blackmores, which already has strong marketing positions in Asia and a growing presence in China, recently signing an agreement with Bega Cheese Ltd (ASX: BGA) to provide high quality infant formula.

The company’s website states, “Combining our knowledge with Bega’s more than 100 years’ experience in dairy product manufacturing, ensures the creation of, high quality, Australian made products containing premium ingredients.

Bega Cheese Ltd

In addition to its new agreement with Blackmores, it’s been a great year for Bega. Its wholly owned subsidiary, Tatura Milk Industries, formalised its relationship with Bellamy’s and the execution of a new six-year infant formula Product Supply Agreement.

Capilano Honey Ltd (ASX: CZZ)

Capilano, Australia’s largest honey company, recently bought the country’s largest manuka beekeeping operation for $6 million. As China’s demand for manuka honey increases, Capilano will start to reap the benefits of the FTA (Free Trade Agreement) signed with China in June 2015.

Sales director Peter ­McDonald said, “With the FTA, we’ll continue to see our sales to China double year-on-year“.

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Motley Fool contributor John Hopkins has no position in any stocks mentioned. Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of Bellamy's Australia. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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