Record world wheat stocks forecast pushes prices lower

The grain market has eased on a US Department of Agriculture report which yesterday raised its estimate for end of season world wheat stocks to a new record high.


London May futures lost £1.20/t to close at £167/t on Thursday and slid again this morning to £166/t. Spot ex-farm wheat is worth £158/t to £163/t depending on region.

The USDA report sees global world wheat stocks rising to a record 213.1m tonnes at the end of the current season from a world crop of 693m tonnes.

This represents about four months’ supply at current usage rates. However, the forecast for end of season maize stocks was reduced on the back of lower world production to 125.4m tonnes, representing just 7.5 weeks’ consumption.

While wheat stocks are set to be at record levels, maize is a bigger crop, with production forecast at 864m tonnes for the current crop year. The tightness of world maize stocks are the main reason for the volatility of wheat prices.

The USDA report also reduced its expectation for soya bean stocks at the end of the current crop year, keeping oilseeds markets market firm. World soya bean production estimates were reduced by 5.5m tonnes to 251.5m tonnes, reflecting lower harvest estimates for Argentina and Brazil.

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