Record 2011-12 world wheat trade up this month

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As the July-June 2011/12 world wheat trade year ends, trade data on the final months of the year are still being published. According to the USDA's Wheat Outlook report, with much of the data already available, 2011/12 global wheat trade is estimated at a record 149.2 million tons, up 2.1 million tons this month. World wheat trade grew 12 percent (or 15.5 million tons) compared to the previous year, and is up 5.7 million tons compared to the previous record of 2008/09.

Growing demand for feed wheat from Australia boosted 2011/12 imports across East Asia by almost 3.5 million tons on the year, with China, Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam reaching all-time records (China and Thailand imports are increased this month). Iran went from being virtually self-sufficient in wheat, importing just 0.2 million tons in 2010/11, to importing 2.5 million in 2011/12. This appears to be an attempt to accumulate higher wheat stocks, out of concern that the country’s worsening geopolitical situation and isolation could lead to food shortages.

Iranian wheat imports are projected up 0.5 million this month. Middle East countries imported 4.6 million more tons of wheat than the previous year, and wheat imports by Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates were all boosted this month to all-time highs. Drought that affected 2011/12 corn and sorghum production in Mexico, and the necessity to replace corn and sorghum supplies coming from the U.S. with imported wheat, triggered 2011/12 wheat imports in Mexico at a record level of 5.1 million tons, up 1.6 million tons on the year. EU-27 increased its wheat imports despite the third largest crop ever in 2011/12, up 2.8 million tons on the year to 7.5 million (up 0.2 million this month).

The FSU-12 countries benefited from abundant Kazakh 2011/12 wheat supplies, with increased imports of 1.8 million tons going mainly to Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan (all three are up this month). Several small changes are made for a number of other countries.

The largest increase in 2011/12 exports this month is for Argentina, which shipped at a strong pace after harvest, boosting July-June exports 0.7 million tons to 11.5 million tons. Australian, Kazak, and Russian shipments in recent weeks exceeded expectations, boosting exports 0.5 million tons each for Australia and Kazakhstan to 22.5 and 10.5 million tons, and up 0.3 million tons for Russia to reach 21.3 million.

Exports from United Arab Emirates (UAE), Uruguay, and Uzbekistan are boosted 0.2 million tons, each. UAE are confirmed in having shipped additional wheat to Iran, while Uzbekistan is on record to ship more just across the border to Afghanistan. However, Mexican and Brazil’s 2011/12 exports are trimmed 0.2 million tons each, as shipments have been smaller than expected. U.S. 2011/12 wheat exports are down 0.1 million tons this month to 28.1 million tons, based on Census trade data for 11 months and USDA data sources for the final month. A small change is made for Tunisia.

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