January 2, 2004



US Wheat Sales Soar


As of December 11, U.S. wheat sales to known destinations grow 25% over the same period last year. If wheat sales to unknown destinations are included, the figure will escalate to 34%. 


"America's wheat farmers deserve good news, and U.S. Wheat Associates is proud to deliver that news this holiday season," said Alan Tracy, president of the wheat industry's export market development organization.


"We're facing strong competition in several markets but we're holding our own, and better. We've got a good product, market fundamentals are on our side, and buyers are returning to U.S. wheat." Tracy indicated that reports from the 15 USW overseas markets indicate that sales will continue strong in 2004.


The good news for the wheat industry comes from all over the globe. U.S. wheat sales to Europe are 83% higher than the same time last year. Sales to Africa are double what they were at this point in 2002, with major increases to Egypt, and other north African destinations.


Nigeria, a large U.S. customer, has purchased 23% more so far this year. Sales to China are seven times higher than last year, and Taiwan and Japan have bought more this year as well. Increases are registered in Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, and Yemen.


Even in the western hemisphere, with Canadian wheat coming back from a devastating year, U.S. wheat sales are holding steady. There are major increases in sales to Cuba, Chile, Peru, and Venezuela. Sales to Mexico, one of our largest customers, are also above last year's pace.


The USDA Foreign Agricultural Service tallies export sales by five wheat classes, and sales have increased in four of the five classes.


Total commercial sales of hard red winter wheat, grown primarily in the central plains, are up 71% over last year, 9.6 million metric tons compared to 5.6 MMT at the same time last year.


Soft red winter wheat, primarily grown east of the Mississippi River, is experiencing 29% growth in sales so far this year, 2.8 MMT compared to 2.15 MMT at this point in 2002. Total commercial sales of white wheat, grown mainly in the pacific northwest, are up 28%, 3.45 million metric tons compared to 2.68 MMT last year.


Sales of durum, the product of North Dakota and Montana, are up 34%, 855,700 metric tons currently compared to 640,600 MT at this same time last year.


The only wheat class selling slower than last year is hard red spring wheat, grown primarily in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana, and sales are only down about 1%, from 5.17 million metric tons last year to 5.09 MMT so far this year.


U.S. Wheat Associates and its predecessor organizations have worked overseas, representing the American wheat farmers, since the mid-1950's.

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