The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s World Agricultural Outlook Board on May 11 projected 2010-11 world wheat ending stocks at 198.09 million tonnes, up 4.72 million tonnes, or 2%, from 193.37 million tonnes forecast for the current year. If the projection for the upcoming year is realized, world wheat stocks would have risen three consecutive years from a 26-year-low of 124.43 million tonnes in 2007-08 and would constitute the largest world wheat end-of-year inventory since 204.2 million tonnes in 2001-02.

World wheat production in 2010-11 was projected at 672.18 million tonnes, down 7.8 million tonnes, or 1%, from 679.98 million tonnes in 2009-10 and down 2% from the record world crop of 683.13 million tonnes harvested in 2008-09. It would be the third-largest world crop on record.

“Larger projected production in the European Union-27, South America and the Middle East is more than offset by expected declines in the Former Soviet Union-12, North Africa, South Asia, China, Canada and Australia,” the U.S.D.A. stated in commentary accompanying the WASDE report.

World wheat consumption in 2010-11 was projected at a record 667.46 million tonnes, up 15.79 million tonnes, or 2%, from the prior record 651.67 million tonnes forecast for the current year. The U.S.D.A. said larger global supplies would support growth in demand, particularly for feed wheat.

“World wheat feeding is projected 3% higher with much of the year-to-year increase from rising feeding in F.S.U.-12,” the department said.

World wheat exports in 2010-11 were projected at 129.18 million tonnes, up 2.19 million tonnes, or 2%, from 126.99 million tonnes forecast for the current year but down 14.24 million tonnes, or 10%, from a record 143.42 million tonnes in 2008-09.

“Higher year-to-year exports for Argentina and the E.U.-27 more than offset lower exports for Ukraine, Australia and Canada,” the U.S.D.A. said. “Export prospects for Russia are unchanged for 2010-11 as larger Middle East crops and rising domestic wheat feeding limit export expansion for Russian wheat.”

The U.S.D.A. noted China wheat stocks in 2010-11 were expected to rise 8.25 million tonnes, ending the year at 63.69 million tonnes compared with beginning stocks forecast at 55.44 million tonnes. Moderate 2010-11 stocks increases were forecast for the United States (up 1.29 million tonnes), Australia (up 0.85 million tonnes), the E.U. (up 0.57 million tonnes), India (up 0.19 million tonnes) and Kazakhstan (up 1.72 million tonnes).

Ending stocks were forecast to decline in 2010-11 in Argentina (down 0.1 million tonnes), Canada (down 1.2 million tonnes), North Africa (down 0.74 million tonnes), Pakistan (down 1.1 million tonnes), Russia (down 4.55 million tonnes) and Ukraine (down 0.05 million tonnes).