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The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Oct. 8 forecast 2010-11 world wheat ending stocks at 174.66 million tonnes, down 3.13 million tonnes from its September projection and down 21.87 million tonnes, or 11%, from 196.53 million tonnes in 2009-10. World wheat ending stocks were 165.33 million tonnes in 2008-09 and 124.38 million tonnes in 2007-08. The latter world year-ending wheat inventory was the smallest since 1981-82. The lower ending stocks forecast for the current year was the result of a reduced production forecast, largely because of a smaller estimate for the United States, and a higher forecast for world feed use of wheat.

The U.S.D.A. projected 2010-11 wheat production at 641.44 million tonnes, down 1.57 million tonnes from the September forecast and down 40.71 million tonnes, or 6%, from 682.15 million tonnes in 2009-10. World wheat production in 2008-09 was a record 683.26 million tonnes.

Among major wheat producers, the U.S.D.A. lowered its production estimates for the United States (-1.13 million tonnes), Canada (-0.3 million tonnes) and North Africa (-0.4 million tonnes). The U.S.D.A. raised its production estimates for the European Union (+0.5 million tonnes) and Brazil (+0.15 million tonnes).

Production estimates for drought-stricken Russia and Ukraine were

unchanged at 42.5 million tonnes and 17 million tonnes, respectively. Last year, Russia produced 61.7 million tonnes of wheat, and Ukraine produced 20.9 million tonnes.

With the Southern Hemisphere harvest imminent, the U.S.D.A. left unchanged its production forecasts for Argentina and Australia, at 12 million tonnes and 23 million tonnes, respectively. Argentina’s crop would be its largest since 2007-08, and Australia’s crop would be its largest

since 2005-06.

World wheat consumption in 2010-11 was projected at a record 663.31 million tonnes, up 2.12 million tonnes from the September forecast and up 12.35 million tonnes, or 2%, from 650.96 million tonnes in 2009-10, the previous record. World feed use of wheat in 2010-11 was projected at 121.05 million tonnes, up 2.27 million tonnes from September and up 4.77 million tonnes, or 4%, from 116.28 million tonnes in 2009-10. Increases in wheat feeding were forecast in the United States, Canada and the European Union.

World wheat exports in 2010-11 were projected at 126.23 million tonnes, up 0.2 million tonnes from the September forecast but down 9.09 million tonnes, or 7%, from 135.32 million tonnes in the previous year.