WORLD WHEAT SITUATION AND OUTLOOK
While world wheat trade is down marginally from last months estimate, the 97.2 million ton projection remains the highest volume in three years. Global production is projected up 3.5 million tons, largely due to a three million ton increase in China. Production in the five traditional exporting countries (Argentina, Australia, Canada, the European Union and the United States) remain relatively unchanged. Although global consumption is down slightly this month, utilization is expected to continue along the gradual upward trend of the past 25 years.
The export forecast for Australia was raised 500,000 metric tons due to an increase in projected production. However, due to slow export sales during the first half of the marketing year, the export forecasts for the European Union and Argentina were lowered by one-half million tons each. The start of the recent agreement between Pakistan and Afghanistan was delayed until January, suggesting a reduction of 100,000 tons of trade between these countries.
For the second consecutive month, the import forecast for Iran was lowered. The current 5 million ton projection is almost 2 million tons below last years record level, but remains considerably higher than the pace of the early 1990's. The wheat import forecast for Iraq was lowered by 400,000 tons due to lower than expected import purchases during the first half of the marketing year. The import forecast for Sri Lanka is down slightly to 850,000 tons due to the anticipated decline in domestic consumption as the flour subsidy is gradually eliminated. A strong import program in Russia suggests a forecast increase of 300,000 tons, to 1.3 million tons.
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