August 9, 2011


Good east EU wheat yields raise export potential


Wheat crops in eastern EU countries are generally developing well, bringing a potential export surplus for the region, analysts said Monday (Aug 8).


Harvesting is mostly progressing on schedule although there is concern late rain may threaten crop quality in major producer Poland.


"The Black Sea EU countries will probably have a good exportable surplus and could have some noticeable export sales, especially Romania," experts said.


Larger wheat crops are likely in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria, he said. The picture in Poland is still uncertain but the crop could at least reach last year's levels.


Traders said Poland's wheat has suffered from the same repeated rain in past weeks which has delayed harvesting in neighbouring Germany.


The Polish state statistics office forecasts the wheat crop at between 9.15-9.45 million tonnes against some 9.15 million harvested in 2010.


Romania has had an excellent wheat crop this summer and the country has scored initial success in export markets against heated competition from Russia.


Trade estimates say Romania's wheat crop is likely to rise to 7.5 million tonnes from 6.56 in 2010.


Romania scored a rare export success in Egypt's last international wheat purchase tender on August 4, selling 60,000 tonnes. This followed a Romanian sale in late July in a tender from Syria.


"Romania has good export prospects but a fair amount of its harvest is likely to be transferred to the western EU because of poor crops there," one trader said.


Bulgarian farmers have gathered over 94% the wheat harvest, the agriculture ministry said. The average yield of 4.05 tonnes per hectare was better than in 2010, but the crop matched last year's as farmers have planted less of the grain.


Bulgaria's farm ministry hopes favourable weather will boost the crop to 4.1 million tonnes, up from 3.8 million tonnes last year.


The Black Sea country's domestic demand is 2.0-2.2 million tonnes, meaning it can export the rest.


So far, Bulgarian exporters have shipped 206,000 tonnes of new-crop wheat abroad, mainly to Spain, and smaller quantities to Italy and Portugal and another 95,000 tonnes is to be loaded on ships this week, said a grain industry source.


Hungary's 2011 wheat crop is likely to reach 3.9 million tonnes, up from 3.7 million tonnes last year with harvesting almost completed.


Most of Hungary's wheat already harvested was of milling grade, while the wheat still in the fields was expected to be of feed quality due to the impact of recent rains.

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