Bloomberg News

Wheat Exports From Australia May Drop Even as Harvest Climbs

March 04, 2013

Wheat exports from Australia, the second-biggest supplier last year, will probably decline 5 percent in the year starting July 1 even as the crop increases because of higher plantings, a government forecaster said.

Sales will slide to 20.8 million metric tons from 21.9 million tons this year as less grain will be drawn from stockpiles, said the Canberra-based Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences. The harvest may rise to 24.9 million tons from 22.1 million tons, it said in a report. Output was a record 29.9 million tons in 2011-2012.

Futures traded in Chicago have lost 26 percent after reaching a four-year high in July as recovering global harvests helped rebuild inventories. The U.S. Department of Agriculture may say on March 8 that stockpiles in the U.S., the biggest exporter, before the 2013 harvest will be higher than its forecast last month, according to a Bloomberg survey.

“We had strong exports in 2012-2013 because it was off the back of a large crop,” Abares executive director Paul Morris said in an interview in Canberra today. “Going into 2013-2014, we had a lower crop so exports are down a bit.”

Wheat futures declined 8.3 percent in February and reached an eight-month low of $6.975 a bushel yesterday on optimism snowstorms in parts of the U.S. may deliver moisture to drought- hit crops. The worst U.S. drought since the 1930s cut output and sent corn and soybean prices to records last year.

Plantings Expand

Australian farmers may boost wheat plantings by 3.8 percent to 13.8 million hectares (34.1 million acres), the bureau said. Globally, farmers may sow 224 million hectares in 2013-2014 from 220 million hectares a year earlier, it said.

World wheat reserves will total 176.73 million tons on June 1, the USDA estimated Feb. 8, up from 176.64 million tons predicted a month earlier. The USDA forecast would still be down 10 percent from 2011-2012 and the lowest since 2008-2009.

Australia’s canola production may decrease 4.7 percent to 2.9 million tons in the year starting July, Abares estimates. Barley output may climb 11 percent to 7.8 million tons, it said.

“The area planted to grains and oilseeds is projected to increase in response to favorable world prices,” the report said. “Given the price outlook, the area planted to oilseeds and coarse grains is projected to increase at a higher rate than wheat.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Phoebe Sedgman in Melbourne at psedgman2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Poole at jpoole4@bloomberg.net


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