Drought-reduced Russian wheat crop tightens world supply
BakingBusiness.com, September 18, 2012
by Jay Sjerven

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Sept. 12 forecast 2012-13 world wheat ending stocks at 176.71 million tonnes, down 0.46 million tonnes from the August projection and down 21.93 million tonnes, or 11%, from 198.64 million tonnes in 2011-12. The global wheat inventory at the end of the current marketing year would be the smallest since 167.80 million tonnes in 2008-09. The latter year saw a recovery in wheat ending stocks from a 31-year low of 127.32 million tonnes in 2007-08.

The U.S.D.A. forecast world wheat production in 2012-13 at 658.73 million tonnes, down 4.1 million tonnes from the August forecast and down 36.31 million tonnes, or 5%, from a record 695.04 million tonnes in 2011-12.

The U.S.D.A.’s initial forecast for world wheat production in 2012-13 issued in May was 677.56 million tonnes, or 3% higher than the current outlook. The decline was attributed primarily to a drop in the forecast for Russian wheat production.

The U.S.D.A. forecast Russian wheat production in 2012 at 39 million tonnes, down 4 million tonnes from the August projection and down 17.23 million tonnes, or 31%, from 56.23 million tonnes in 2011. It would be the smallest Russian wheat crop since 34.1 million tonnes in 2003 and compared with 54.5 million tonnes as the recent five-year average outturn. The U.S.D.A. in May projected the 2012 Russian wheat crop at 56 million tonnes.

The U.S.D.A. said in commentary accompanying the supply-and-demand data it lowered its forecast for Russian wheat production yet again because of lower reported area and reduced yields as harvest results confirmed additional drought and heat damage to both the winter and spring wheat crops.
World wheat consumption in 2012-13 was forecast at 680.66 million tonnes, down 2.59 million tonnes from the August projection and down 13.69 million tonnes, or 2%, from a record 694.35 million tonnes in 2011-12. World feed use of wheat was forecast at 132.09 million tonnes, down 2 million tonnes from the August projection and down 12.71 million tonnes, or 9%, from a record 144.8 million tonnes in 2011-12.

The U.S.D.A. attributed the decline in its world wheat consumption forecast from August to lower projected feed and residual use in Kazakhstan and Russia. “Food use is also lowered slightly for both countries with additional reductions projected for food use in Egypt and Nigeria,” the U.S.D.A. said. “Food use is raised for Afghanistan, Iran and Libya.”

World wheat exports in 2012-13 were forecast at 134.83 million tonnes, down 0.38 million tonnes from the August projection and down 19.81 million tonnes, or 13%, from a record 154.64 million tonnes in 2011-12.

The U.S.D.A. left its export forecast for Russia unchanged at 8 million tonnes, which was down 13.63 million tonnes, or 63%, from 21.63 million tonnes in 2011-12. Ukrainian wheat exports in the current year were forecast at 4 million tonnes, down 2 million tonnes from the August projection and down 1.44 million tonnes from 5.44 million tonnes in 2011-12. The U.S.D.A. noted the lower export outlook for Ukraine was based on a recent agreement between government officials and grain traders to limit shipments because of concerns about tightening domestic supplies.

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