WORLD WHEAT SITUATION AND OUTLOOK
U.S. wheat prices remained relatively stable over the past month due to sluggish import demand. Export quotes for #2 HRW FOB Gulf are about $130/ton for nearby shipment compared to $139 a year ago. World wheat trade in 1998/99 is forecast at 97.5 million tons, slightly lower than last months estimate. Global stocks are up 2 million tons, with the U.S. accounting for most of this increase. Global consumption is expected to be nearly 2 million tons lower this month, while the stocks-to-use ratio stands at 20.9 percent.
Wheat exports by the United States are forecast at 30 million tons, a reduction of 1 million tons from last months estimate on weak commercial export commitments.
Wheat exports by Argentina in 1998/99 are projected up 500,000 tons to 7.0 million tons on higher production prospects due to better-than-expected yields in key growing regions. Because of the dry weather conditions, harvest is near completion and well ahead of last year.
Philippine wheat imports in 1998/99 are expected to be 2 million tons, down 400,000 tons from last month based on slow import purchases to date. Likewise, wheat imports by Venezuela are forecast 200,000 tons lower, to 1.1 million tons.
1998/99 commercial wheat imports by Pakistan are forecast 200,000 tons higher this month (2.2 million tons) due to wheat imports by the private sector. Typically, imports are controlled by the government, however high domestic prices have encouraged flour mills to seek wheat from international suppliers.
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