30 October 1998
Global wheat trade ‘should reach last year’s 95m tonnes’

THE global trade in wheat during 1998 should equal last years total of 95m tonnes, according to the latest monthly Grain Market Report by the International Grains Council.

The figure is 1m tonnes higher than the IGCs previous forecast because of increased trade with Russia.

Export forecasts for Argentina and Australia have been lowered, but those for the European Union and the US have been raised.

The organisation puts world production of wheat at 586m tonnes, just below 1997s record of 610m tonnes. But the latest forecast is 7m tonnes below the IGCs previous expectations.

It said: “The revision results from decreased output estimates, mainly for Argentina, Australia, India, Kazakhstan, Russia and South Africa.”

Wheat stocks are put at 128m tonnes against 123m tonnes in the previous forecast. World consumption is estimated at 591m tonnes, 11m tonnes below the previous forecast.

October saw an improvement in international grain prices, with quotations rising by more than $10. The rise was because of a significant rally in US futures during the first week – borne on the back of concerns about the dryness in key US winter wheat areas, rumours of buying by China and reports of frost damage in Australia.

Market sentiment was also influenced by reports of possible large food assistance shipments to Russia.