June 23, 2008

Australia regains Iraq as major wheat market

Iraq regained its position as the major destination for Australian wheat exports in May, in which total wheat exports rose 7.1 percent on month to 832,57 tonnes from 777,476 tonnes in April, according to data supplied by regulator the Export Wheat Commission.


Bulk wheat exports in May of 591,319 tonnes were up 17 percent on month and were destined for nine countries.


Among major markets, exports to Iraq totaled 148,200 tonnes in May, Indonesia 104,621 tonnes, South Korea 90,310 tonnes, Japan 73,130 tonnes, Egypt 58,299 tonnes, Kuwait 45,000 tonnes and Malaysia 44,337 tonnes, it reported in figures published on its Web site late last week.


Iraq was a major buyer of Australian wheat during the 1990s, but the trade was halted in 2006 over revelations about kickbacks by monopoly exporter AWB Ltd. (AWB.AU) to Saddam Hussein's deposed regime in Iraq during the operation of a United Nations oil-for-food programme.


Containerised shipping and bag shipping totaled 241,253 tonnes in May, down 12 percent from April, and were destined for 24 countries, including Indonesia with 59,959 tonnes, Malaysia 40,082 tonnes, Vietnam 38,072 tonnes, Taiwan 24,314 tonnes, Thailand 18,310 tonnes.


Australia's wheat exports will more than double next fiscal year on the back of an expected rebound in production, the government's chief commodities analyst, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, forecast Monday.


Wheat exports are forecast to rise to 14.1 million tonnes compared with 6.8 million tonnes this fiscal year ending June 30, the bureau said in its quarterly Australian Commodities outlook.


After domestic demand of almost 7 million tonnes a year is met, the remainder of production is available for export, usually making Australia a major global supplier.