U.S. wheat export prospects unchanged

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World wheat trade was almost unchanged, up just 0.2 million tons at 140.5 million tons this month. Projected wheat exports are up 0.5 million tons for India and Russia, and up 0.2 million tons for Ukraine. India is trying to relieve its overloaded storage space ahead of the new crop, given that deliveries from the new harvest will start in March.

Just recently, three major Indian governmental trading companies announced tenders totaling an additional 0.65 million tons in wheat sales to be delivered in January-February 2013. Russia has already exported in the current marketing year about 9.8 million tons of wheat, and though the Russian wheat balance is becoming tight and high domestic prices make its wheat uncompetitive for exports, it is expected that small amounts of wheat will still find their way out of the country, possibly to such neighboring former FSU countries as Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The Ukrainian Government has just announced that it will make an additional 0.3 million tons of milling wheat available for export, which raises the previous wheat export limit of 5.9 million tons. By now, Ukraine has already exported about this amount of wheat. The increases are almost offset by reductions in Australian and Canadian wheat exports, each down 0.5 million tons, reflecting a slower-than-expected pace of exports in both countries. Wheat import prospects are increased 0.2 million tons to 2.7 million this month for Iran, based on recent purchases.

U.S. 2012/13 wheat exports are unchanged this month. At the projected 29.5 million tons, July-June exports would be up 5 percent from the previous year. U.S. Census data for July through November show U.S. wheat exports reaching 9.8 million tons, still down almost 14 percent on the year.

Grain export inspections for December continue to run below year earlier levels. However, outstanding sales indicate significant improvement in demand, raising total commitments to last year’s level. The United States is expected to become increasingly competitive in the concluding months of the marketing year, as its competitors’ exportable wheat supplies, especially in the Black Sea region, are shrinking.

U.S. wheat has become competitive enough in recent weeks to win two consecutive tenders from Egypt’s official government buying agency GASC, the latest occurring on January 10.

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