World wheat trade nearly unchanged

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World wheat trade for the July-June international trade year in 2013/14 is projected at 143.0 million tons, just 0.7 million tons lower than in the previous year. However, the structure of imports and exports by country is expected to shift substantially.

The largest decline in wheat imports in 2013/14 is projected for Iran, down 4.0 million tons to 1.0 million, given expectations of near-record production and large politically motivated imports in 2012/13 that tripled Iranian wheat stocks. Increased 2013/14 wheat output is expected to limit imports in Morocco, Turkey, Iraq, and Algeria. A partial switch to competitively priced corn is expected to reduce wheat feed imports for Japan and South Korea.

Increased wheat imports in other countries partly offset these declines. The EU-27 is expected to boost its wheat imports by 0.8 million tons to 6.5 million, as feed-quality wheat from Ukraine and Russia that was not readily available in 2012/13 is expected to find its way into Europe (mainly Spain).

Egypt is expected to at least partially resolve its financial conundrum problems and import 9.0 million tons of wheat, 1.0 million tons more than in 2012/13. However, this amount is not expected to be sufficient to start rebuilding their wheat stocks. Saudi Arabia is another country that is expected to import 1.0 million tons of wheat more than last year, with half of this increase expected to be used for animal feed, as the Saudi government is reportedly attempting to reduce the county’s reliance on barley feeding.

A number of countries are expected to increase imports of wheat for food use to maintain the existing per capita consumption with a growing population. Imports are up 0.4 million tons, or 6 percent, in Indonesia as new millers started to operate in the country requiring additional supplies of milling-quality wheat.

Significant shifts in market shares are expected among wheat-exporting countries in 2013/14. Competition among them is expected to be intense throughout the year because of high wheat supplies in key exporting countries. Three major Black Sea exporters–Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan–are expected to be the most pricecompetitive grain exporters in the world market for feed and lower-grade foodquality wheat.

Exports by Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan combined are projected to increase almost by half (up 45 percent) to 35.0 million tons. All three countries’ stocks are currently at exceptionally low levels, which might weigh on their exports at the start of the marketing year. The main reason for the increase for all 3 countries is the recovery of wheat production after last year’s extremely adverse weather. Increased competition from the Black Sea suppliers in North Africa and Middle East is expected to result in a decline of 4.5 million tons in EU-27 wheat exports to 17.0 million.

Despite increased supplies of wheat, Canadian wheat exports are expected to remain steady at a healthy level of 18.5 million tons, as competition is expected to reduce the premium for its high-quality wheat. Though Argentine exports for the international 2013/14 trade (July-June) year are down 1.0 million tons to 6.5 million, its local marketing year exports (December-November) are up 2.0 million tons, reflecting higher wheat output.

This happens because the first 5 months (JulyNovember) of the 2013/14 international trade year are also the last 5 months of the Argentine 2012/13 local marketing year, and wheat exports during these months in 2013 are expected to be lower than the near-record wheat exports during the same months of 2012, reducing July-June 2013/14 exports.

Reduced supplies (lower beginning stocks that are only partly offset by higher wheat output) and strong competition from the Black Sea in North Africa and Middle East are expected to reduce Australian exports for the international trade year by 2.0 million tons to 17.0 million (down 1.0 million to 18.0 for the local October-September marketing year). With its still bulging but somewhat reduced wheat stocks, India is expected to continue its export program, exporting 8.0 million tons of wheat, down 0.5 million on the year.

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