Over-supply fear fails to knock US wheat

By Joanna Levin

CONCERN over suggestions that higher-than-expected EU exports will drive world wheat prices lower has failed to affect the US wheat market adversely.

Officials from the United States Department of Agriculture had expressed worries that cheaper EU wheat shipments could impede US exports and lead to an over-supplied domestic market. Coupled with a drop in demand for imported wheat from China, this was expected to result in a fall in US wheat prices.

But US wheat prices last week were driven higher by weather-related issues, including wet conditions in the midwest which are delaying spring planting. The Chicago May contract closed on Monday (11 May) at $2.947/bushel, compared with $2.90 a week earlier.

Looking ahead, many analysts expect prices to remain at this level – at least in the short term. Although rain in the midwest could delay planting, it would take substantial precipitation to have much impact. About 65% of the spring wheat crop is already planted, compared with only 12% last year and a five year average of 29%.

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