WORLD WHEAT SITUATION AND OUTLOOK
U.S. wheat prices moved slightly lower over the past month due to lackadaisical import demand and large exporter supplies. In early March, export quotes for #2 HRW FOB Gulf averaged about $115/ton for nearby shipment compared to $139 a year ago. World wheat trade in 1998/99 is forecast at 95.6 million tons, slightly lower than last months estimate. Global consumption is expected to be more than 1 million tons higher this month, while the stocks-to-use ratio stands at 21.3 percent.
Wheat exports by the United States are forecast at 29 million tons, 500,000 tons above last months estimate based on reduced competition from Canada and the European Union.
Canadian wheat exports are projected 500,000 tons lower (14.5 million tons) due to slow export shipments to date, while wheat exports by the European Union are forecast at 16 million tons, a reduction of 500,000 tons based on expectations of smaller flour and product exports.
1998/99 wheat exports by Poland are forecast at 750,000 tons, 250,000 tons higher than last month, in anticipation of additional sales by the government to further drawdown feed quality reserve stocks. While sales may exceed the 250,000 ton increase, shipments may extend past the end of the marketing year.
Chinas wheat imports are expected to be 1.5 million tons, 500,000 tons below last month due to sluggish import pace to date.
1998/99 commercial wheat imports by Pakistan forecast 600,000 tons higher this month to 3.2 million tons based on additional government and private sector purchases.
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