Global stocks are projected at near-record high

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Beginning 2011/1220 wheat stocks added 0.2 million tons to supplies this month, due to two 2010/2011 revisions: the wheat production estimate in Uruguay is up 0.1 million tons to 1.3 million, and the estimate of Paraguayan wheat exports is down 0.1 million tons to 0.9 million. Despite a 1.2-million-ton increase in projected 2011/2012 global wheat use to 681.4 million, larger production and beginning stocks edge up world wheat ending stocks 1.5 million tons this month to 210.0 million.

This is the second-highest level on record, following 1999/2000 when ending wheat stocks were about 0.5 million tons higher, although the stocks-to-use ratio was above 36 percent versus the current 31 percent. Even so, large world wheat supplies are putting additional pressure on wheat prices and intensifying export competition.

Feed and residual use is up 1.0 million tons in Kazakhstan, as record-high supplies are expected to put pressure on domestic prices, thereby increasing incentives to feed more wheat. At the same time, a good part of the additional crop is expected to be wasted, as storage capacities in the country are both insufficient and inefficient. A small change is also made for U.S. wheat domestic use.

Ending stocks are projected to increase this month in Brazil and Kazakhstan, up 0.8 and 0.5 million tons, respectively, reflecting higher projected wheat supplies. For both countries, these are the highest stocks on record. Ending stocks are up in Australia by 0.5 million tons on lower export expectations. Ending stocks in Uruguay and Paraguay are also up 0.1 million tons, each mirroring changes in their beginning stocks.

Partly offsetting is a stocks’ reduction in Russia, down 0.3 million tons to 11.9 million, as a production increase only partly offsets higher projected exports. Ending stocks are also down 0.2 million tons in the United States.

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