May 16, 2008
EU wheat exports continue to gain ground, still net grain importer
EU licenses to export soft wheat rose 250,000 tonnes for the week ended May 13, EU data showed Thursday.
This compares to a rise of 236,000 tonnes in the previous week and brings the total for 2007-08 to 7.874 million tonnes, 46 weeks into the marketing year.
So far in the current campaign, the EU was a net soft wheat exporter of 3.470 million tonnes, nearly half of last year's exports of nearly 8 million tonnes.
Following a sluggish start to the season, EU soft wheat import licenses exceeded those to export until early February. Now, demand has picked up in the later half of the campaign as supplies in other exporting nations run low.
Still, 46 weeks into the season, the EU is a net grain importer of 8.0 million tonnes compared to net exports of 4.9 million the same time last season.
The increased imports mostly constitute corn and sorghum, used as a cheaper feed alternative to wheat.
The EU is expected to cut its corn imports over the course of the year as its price advantage gradually fades, according to Stratege Grains.
Meanwhile, licenses to import corn rose 398,000 metric tonnes in the week ended May 13, adding onto the hefty surge in feed grain imports seen earlier in the 2007-08 marketing year, EU data showed Thursday.
At 46 weeks into the marketing year, EU corn import licenses totaled 12.664 million tonnes, more than two-and-a- half times larger than the same time last year, when licenses tallied 4.86 million tonnes.
Sorghum import licenses rose 11,000 tonnes on the week to bring the marketing year total to 5.05 million tonnes, nearly ten times more than that last year.
Partially offsetting the rise in corn and sorghum import licenses, soft wheat export licenses rose by 250,000 tonnes on the week to 7.87 million tonnes.