April 18, 2012
Australia exports 91,500 tonnes wheat to Iran
Official data showed Monday (Apr 16) that Australia exported 91,500 tonnes of wheat to Iran in the January-February period.
Iran began ramping up wheat imports this marketing year, which began October 1, including rare purchases from the US, in a sign Tehran is building a strategic stockpile of grain in anticipation of harsher sanctions or even military conflict with the West over its disputed nuclear programme.
Figures from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural Resource Economics and Sciences showed Australia exported 70,500 tonnes in January and 21,000 tonnes in February, almost 50% higher than the entire 61,400 tonnes shipped to Iran last year and no shipments at all in 2010-11.
The USDA estimates Iran will import two million tonnes by June. That is a tenfold rise from a February estimate, and enough to cover 13% of Iran's annual consumption, USDA data showed.
The country has bought wheat from the US, Australia, Brazil, and Kazakhstan in the past few months and is in talks on what could be a major wheat buy from India, according to market watchers and official data.
Tom Puddy, head of grain marketing at Cooperative Bulk Handling Ltd., told Dow Jones Newswires in an interview last month that the Western Australia-based grain trader has already seen "a bit of Australian wheat working its way into Iran" this season.