USDA Leaves U.S. Wheat Exports Unchanged, Supported By Decreasing Global Wheat Production
By Stephanie Bryant-Erdmann, USW Market Analyst
USDA updated its monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) on Oct. 11, showing the United States to have the largest exportable supply of wheat in the world in 2018/19 following devastating losses in the European Union (EU) and Australia, and decreased production in Russia. Due to the decreasing exportable wheat supplies in these three countries (production plus beginning stocks minus domestic consumption), USDA expects the United States to have the largest exportable supply of wheat in the world in 2018/19 at 50.1 million metric tons (MMT).
Decreased production in half of the major exporting countries — Australia, the EU, Russia and Ukraine — will result in global wheat production decreasing to 731 MMT, down 4 percent year over year and the lowest level since 2014/15, if realized. While global wheat production will fall for the first time in 5 years, USDA noted that global wheat consumption will reach a new record high of 746 MMT, 4 percent above the 5-year average.
Drought devastated wheat areas in the EU earlier this year and has now spread south to Australia. USDA expects Australian total wheat production to fall to 18.5 MMT, 13 percent below last year and 26 percent below the 5-year average. Smaller Australian wheat production is also expected to result in 2018/19 Australian wheat exports falling to 13.0 MMT. If realized, that would be the lowest level of Australian exports since 2007/08, 26 percent below the 5-year average.
With Australian wheat exports decreasing sharply year-over-year, USDA expects U.S. white wheat exports to increase 11 percent from 2018/19 to 5.85 MMT, the highest level since 2011/12.
USDA expects 2018/19 U.S. wheat exports to reach 27.9 MMT, up 14 percent from 2017/18 and 7 percent above the 5-year average, if realized. Exports of five of the six U.S. wheat classes are expected to increase year-over-year, and hard red winter (HRW) exports are expected to remain above the 5-year average. Still, U.S. wheat export sales pace will need to increase to meet this goal, as year-to-date U.S. wheat export sales total just 11.6 MMT or 42 percent of USDA’s anticipated total.