Wheat prices slide in USA

By Joanna Newman

US wheat prices have fallen inexorably since the Thanksgiving break last week.

The Chicago December wheat futures contract closed on Thursday (3 December) at 270.5¢/bushel, compared with 278.0¢ last Wednesday. Wheat values are slipping steadily against maize and many analysts expect this trend to continue.

US farmers still hold high stocks of unsold wheat from their recent summer harvest and this is overhanging the market. The biggest concern is in the export market, where American producers face stiff competition.

Australia is out there competing against the USA for business to Pakistan, while Europe is also aggressive in the international arena. To confirm these worries, the latest wheat export figures for the week ended 26 November show sales of only 7.8 million bushels, well below average.

On a more positive note, Brazil has lifted a ban on the import of US hard red winter wheat. But the impact could be muted if Brazil is forced to devalue its currency against the US Dollar, which would make its imports more expensive.

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