USDA raises projected world wheat use

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The forecast for 2012/13 wheat use is slightly up by 0.3 million tons this month, with feed and residual use up 1.3 million tons and food use lower by 0.8 million tons, while the rest is the result of ch anges in local marketing year trade.

The largest increases in wheat feed use are for Australia, Canada, and South Korea, up 0.5 million tons each. In Australia, higher wheat feed use is expected to compensate for reduced sorghum feeding at a time when the sorghum crop is suffering losses caused by dry and hot weat her that delayed planting and lowered the crop’s yield potential in the sorghum belt located in the east of the country in Queensland and New South Wales.

In Canada, wheat feed and residual use is increased reflecting lower reported wheat stocks. In South Korea, wheat feeding is projected higher on the evidence of an incr eased share of wheat (relative to corn) in mixed feed rations and higher wheat imports.

The same story is happening in Japan where wheat feeding is up 0.1 million tons, reflecting recent purchases of feed- quality wheat. A small upward adjustment is also made for Ecuador wheat feeding. Partly offsetting is lower projected wheat feeding in Egypt and Brazil, down 0.3 and 0.1 million tons, respectively, both reflecting lower availability of domestic wheat.

Wheat food and industrial use in India is projected down 0.9 million tons (or about 1 percent) this month (but still 3 percent higher on the year), despite higher projected 2012/13 wheat output. Wheat st orage capacities in India have been already seriously overstretched, with substa ntial quantities of wheat being stored in sub-par facilities for some time after the harvest. This has caused considerable grain and quality losses.

With the new 2013/14 harvest starting in March-April, the Government is attempting to relieve ove rfilled storage by allowing certain amounts of wheat to be exported from Government-held stocks. It is also trying to push more wheat through the local imperfect and nontransparent Public Distribution System (PDS) to feed additional subsidized wheat to the country’s poor.

Regrettably those 7 Wheat Outlook/WHS-13c/March 12, 2013 Economic Research Service, USDA efforts have not been successful enough, leading to an even higher estimate for ending stocks in India. It appears that the st ocks this year will have to absorb both a wheat production increase and the lower projected food use.

Also, constant growth of the Government-supporte d procurement prices heavily stimulates wheat production and creates additional challenges fo r the Indian government to solve the grain storage quandary and reduce unnecessary grain losses, in a country that, according to the World Food Program, is “ home to about 25 percent of the world's hungry poor” (

Food use has also been updated in a number of countries, mainly as a reflection of trade changes. In Egypt, Kenya, and Serbia, food use is down 0.2, 0.2, and 0.1 million tons, respectively.

Those reductions are slightly offset by 0.1-million-tons increases in both Tanzania and Yemen. With wheat beginning stocks slightly lowe r this month by less than 0.1 million tons (tiny declines in Chile and Kyrgyzstan), and higher production that is only partly offset by a small increase in wheat consumption, ending foreign stocks are up 0.8 million tons this month. Global wheat st ocks are up 1.5 million tons to 178.2 million this month, partly reflecting an upward change in U.S. stocks because of lower projected exports.

The largest increase in wheat ending stocks happens in India, where stocks are up 1.9 million tons to 23.8 million as discussed above. Another big increase in wheat ending stocks comes from Iran, where stocks are up 0.9 million tons to 4.8 million, reflecting higher imports.

Increased projections of wheat imports are also the reason for higher wheat stocks (for a total of 0.8 million tons) in Algeria, China, Yemen, and Japan. Wheat ending stocks are projected down 0.5 million tons each for: (1) Australia, with increased projected feeding; (2) for Egypt, as lower imports are partly compensated by a decrease in consumpti on (see a discussion below in the trade section); and (3) for EU-27, where higher projected exports are only partly offset by a production increase.

This drives EU ending stocks under 10 million tons, a level unseen for about 40 years. Stocks are down 0.4 million tons for both Brazil (higher exports partly offset by lower feed use) and Canada (higher feeding). In Ukraine, stocks are also projected lower by 0.3 m illion tons (higher exports).

Slight changes in ending wheat stocks are made for several other countries.

Source: Wheat Outlook

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