World wheat trade estimate for 2011 - 2012 boosted

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World wheat trade estimated for 2011/12 is increased 0.8 million tons this month to 152.4 million tons, pushing the record trade number even higher to almost 9 million tons above the previous record of 2008/09.

Data for the international trade year indicate that 2011/12 wheat exports are slightly higher (under 0.2 million tons) for the following countries: United Arab Emirates (UAE), up 0.2 million tons (the country is re-exporting about half of its imported wheat, mainly to Iran); and India, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Ukraine, and Uruguay, up 0.1 million tons each. Other numerous changes are partly offsetting.

For wheat imports, the main adjustments for 2011/12 are made for the UAE, up 0.2 million tons to 2.0 million, and Iran, the recipient of the UAE re-exports, up 0.2 million tons to 2.7 million. Imports are also up 0.1 million tons for Algeria. Smaller adjustments are made for a number of countries. World trade projected for 2012/13 is reduced less than 0.1 million tons this month to 136.6 million, with the changes in individual countries almost offsetting.

Tight wheat supplies in key exporting countries have led to high prices, and some importers are expected to reduce stocks instead of increasing imports. Imports were reduced for China, EU-27, and Egypt, down 0.5 million tons each; for Israel and Nigeria, down 0.2 million tons each.

In Nigeria, import tariffs went up from 5 to 20 percent as the government is trying to increase the use of cassava in baking flour. Smaller reductions in wheat imports are made for Eritrea, Georgia, and Peru. Almost offsetting are higher projected wheat imports for Iran, Turkey, and Russia.

In Iran, wheat imports are projected up 1.0 million tons to 2.0 million, based on recent purchases from various wheat suppliers. It appears that the country is importing mainly food-quality wheat, while feeding the lower-quality domestically-produced wheat. In Turkey, imports are also up 0.5 million tons this month to 4.0 million, as the government announced a temporary elimination of the wheat import duty.

In Russia, imports are up 0.3 million tons to 0.5 million, as low supplies, stocks, and high domestic prices are expected to open the way to some imports, especially across the border from Kazakhstan to the drought-stricken parts of Siberia. A tiny change in wheat imports is made for Nepal.

The only reduction in 2012/13 wheat exports this month is for Ukraine, down 2.0 million tons to 4.0 million. This cut is not motivated by lower production prospects; on the contrary, wheat production is expected to be 0.5 million tons higher. Rather, the Government of Ukraine and major grain traders signed an agreement by which the latter acquiesced to export limits determined by the Ministry of Agriculture based on its current estimated grain balances.

For wheat, this limit is currently set at 4.0 million tons. Partly offsetting this cut are higher projected wheat exports by the EU-27, up 0.5 million tons to 17.5 million. The region is expected to become more competitive with good French and improved German crops, and lower competition from the other non-EU countries of the Black Sea region. Wheat exports are also projected up 0.5 million tons in Brazil, and up 0.3 million tons each for Argentina, Turkey and United Arab Emirates. A small upward change is made for El Salvador.

Despite a significant reduction in production prospects in Russia, the wheat export projection for 2012/13 is unchanged this month at 8.0 million tons. Russia has already exported around 4.0 million tons of wheat in 2 months, and continues to stay competitive with wheat prices lower (though incrementally increasing with each successive tender) than those of all major competitors. However, it is clear that domestic wheat prices are bound to rise in the near future as the exportable surplus shrivels.

The early pace of U.S. wheat export sales and shipments does not support a change in expected exports. For the July-June 2012/13 international trade year, according to Census data, exports in July 2012 were largely on par with a year earlier.

Export Sales shipment data indicate that August 2012 shipments were about at the same level as in the previous August, and as of August 30, 2012, outstanding export sales were slightly lower than a year ago. However, U.S. sales and shipments are expected to accelerate later in the year as competitors deplete their wheat supplies and reduce stocks.

Source: Wheat Outlook



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