Wheat consumption down slightly for 2012/13

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A small 1.2-million-ton decrease is projected for global wheat use for 2012/13, with marginal changes for both feed and food use this month, as sizeable shifts in feed use for a number of countries are mostly offsetting. Wheat feed use is projected higher for China for two consecutive years, up 2.0 and 1.0 million tons for 2011/12 and 2012/13, respectively.

Increased Chinese feeding is better correlated with the high growth rates in its compound feed-production industry, and is a reflection of the domestic relative prices that are about 10 percent lower for wheat compared to corn. While increased from the previous forecast, China’s 2012/13 wheat feeding is expected to decline compared to the previous year due to abundant corn supplies.

Wheat feeding in Canada is increased 0.5 million tons to 3.7 million this month, which is still almost 1.0 million tons lower than last year when an abundance of low-quality wheat encouraged higher feeding.

This year’s wheat quality is good, and this month’s increase in feeding reflects expectations of a less significant decline in Canadian livestock numbers, than previously expected. Wheat feed use is also projected up 0.5 million tons to 1.0 million in Iran, following its expanding imports of wheat for food use while feeding its domestically produced low-quality wheat. Smaller upward revisions of feed use are made for Brazil and South Africa.

EU-27 wheat feed use projected for 2012/13 is further reduced by 1.5 million tons. Corn imports and coarse grain feeding are projected higher, more than offsetting the wheat feeding reduction, as relative prices continue to favor corn over wheat for feeding. Australian feed use is revised down for three years in a row: for 2010/11, down 0.5 million tons, and for 2011/12 and 2012/13 down 0.3 million tons, each. The changes are in line with ABARES estimates, and better reflect the pace of livestock developments and residual use. Projected feed use is also trimmed for Paraguay.

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