WORLD WHEAT SITUATION AND OUTLOOK
In early September, U.S. wheat prices were $2/ton below a month earlier due to weak import demand. Export quotes for #2 HRW FOB Gulf are about $112/ton for nearby shipment compared to $150 this time last year. World wheat trade in 1998/99 stands at 98.4 million tons, 400,000 tons lower than last months estimate. Global stocks are up slightly from last month, with the 2 million ton reduction in Russia offset by the rise in stocks in several exporting countries (Australia and the United States). Global consumption is expected to be slightly lower, while the stocks-to-use ratio stands at 21.1 percent.
The 1998/99 wheat export forecast for the United States is lowered by 1 million tons (to 29.5 million tons) on increased competition and lower global imports.
The 1998/99 wheat export forecast for Australia is up 1 million tons, to 16.5 million tons because of larger production prospects. At the same time, the wheat export forecast for Canada is reduced 500,000 tons (to 15.5 million tons) due to lower production prospects and extremely tight exportable supplies.
1998/99 European Union wheat exports are expected to be 17 million tons, 500,000 tons below last months forecast, on slower-than-expected export sales to date.
Wheat exports by Turkey are projected 500,000 tons higher based on aggressive early season sales. Exports are expected to reach 2.5 million tons, which is 500,000 tons above last years level.
1998/99 wheat imports by Iran are forecast at 4 million tons, down 1 million tons this month due to slow purchases over the past few months.
South Koreas imports are projected at 4 million tons, up 300,000 tons from last month and slightly higher than last years level. The month-to-month increase in imports is because of increased demand for feeding.
The 1998/99 wheat import forecast for South Africa is raised this month by 250,000 tons, to 950,000 tons because of lower production.
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