January-June flour output up 0.6% from year ago to record

by Neil Sosland
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WASHINGTON — U.S. flour production in the first half of 2014, as reported by the North American Millers’ Association (NAMA) and interpolated by Milling & Baking News, set a new high, up 0.6% from 2013. The change was calculated from the NAMA estimate of flour output for January-June at 198,728,000 cwts by the mills it queries, compared with 197,446,000 in the first six months of 2013.

In an attempt to approximate the total U.S. output (including mills not part of the NAMA survey), Milling & Baking News divided the NAMA numbers by .951, unchanged from 2013 but down from .954 in 2012 and the last half of 2011 when NAMA replaced the Census Bureau in compiling output data. This reflects estimates on the capacity of the NAMA panel against overall U.S. levels as published in the Grain & Milling Annual.

The resulting figures are a record 208,967,000 cwts for flour production in January-June 2014, up 0.6% from 207,619,000 in the first half of 2013, the prior high. Production also was up 1.7% from 205,398,000 cwts in the first half of 2012, the third largest. Output in the second quarter of the current year was 105,143,000 cwts, a peak for that quarter and up 0.4% from a year back when output was 104,688,000, the second highest. April-June was up 1.3% over 103,824,000 in January-March.

Issues have surfaced with the milling capacity data published by NAMA for the second quarter and these numbers currently are under review. Operating rate estimates also are being withheld by Milling & Baking News pending the capacity review.
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