WHEAT: WORLD MARKETS AND TRADE
Iraq Bright Spot for U.S. Exports in Middle East: The recent emergence of Iraq as a key U.S. market has helped to offset the trend of smaller sales to other Middle East markets. U.S. exports to the region had been waning as the result of strong competition from low-priced supplies out of the Black Sea region and, in 2002/03, exports to the Middle East fell to a 30-year low. This marketing year, commitments to Iraq have surged to over 800,000 tons, the highest level since 1989/90, making it the second largest buyer of Hard Red Winter (HRW) wheat in the world (see PDF version for charts).
Effect of Hurricane Katrina on Wheat Exports Small Compared to Other Grains: The aftermath of the hurricane temporarily shut down grain exports out of Mississippi River Gulf ports, which handle the majority of U.S. grain shipments. While these ports typically ship over two-thirds of corn and soybean exports, last year they accounted for less than a quarter of wheat exports. Soft Red Winter (SRW) is the primary class shipped out of this area, but SRW exports this year are expected at a 30-year low. For the week after the hurricane, revised USDA inspections data showed total U.S. corn shipments (from all ports) down 60 percent week to week, soybeans down 42 percent, but wheat shipments were actually up 15 percent.
Domestic: Wheat prices were up sharply for hard wheat in August on strong demand for exports, especially for HRW. HRW prices were up $8 a ton with Hard Red Spring up $9 a ton and SRW prices up $3 a ton. Soft White wheat prices, however, dropped $9 a ton due to large supplies and prospects for a substantial stock buildup (see PDF version for chart).
TRADE CHANGES IN 2005/2006
TRADE CHANGES IN 2004/2005
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Last modified: Tuesday, September 13, 2005