The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has lifted its world 2018-19 wheat production estimate to 735 million tonnes in February from the December estimate of 733 million tonnes, mostly on account of Russia’s yield improvement in its wheat crop just harvested.
Consumption, international trade and stock estimates were tweaked accordingly, taking into account a greater volume of exports from Russia, Paraguay, Pakistan and Brazil balancing Australia’s shortfall this year.
China’s 2018-19 wheat imports estimate was cut to 3.5 million tonnes, 500,000 tonnes below USDA’s December estimate, but China’s consumption of wheat was seen as 2 million tonnes higher at 125 million tonnes, indicative of greater usage of local production.
Trade commentators noted that significant cuts to US wheat planted area estimates were expected. Soft Red Winter wheat plantings in 2019 were forecast 7% lower than previous year; US winter wheat planted area in 2019 aggregate was forecast 4% lower than 2018, including the wheat classes, Hard Red, Soft Red and White.
US Soft Red Winter (SRW) wheat remained the cheapest wheat in the world and price-wise it still calculated into virtually all destinations.