August 15, 2008


Asia Grain Outlook on Friday: Wheat prices may rise tracking US futures



Asian importers may have to pay more for wheat over the next few days as prices of U.S. futures contracts rise on higher global demand.


Importing countries have begun re-stocking food-grade wheat to meet demand, increasing wheat sales from the U.S.


The U.S. is also expected to sell more food wheat this year, as the other major producers such as the Ukraine and Germany are likely to produce more feed-wheat.


The U.S. is the world's biggest wheat exporter.


But, the surge in prices may be limited as the world begins harvesting a record crop. Global wheat stocks in 2008-09 may expand to 136.2 million metric tonnes from 115.2 million tonnes a year ago, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


The Standard Chartered Bank in a research report this week said "it is worthwhile watching if expected rains in Australia's eastern growing region materialize as this could add to overall improvement in crop conditions over the next 2-3 weeks and further pressure wheat lower."


Australia is one of the world's biggest wheat exporters. The country's wheat crops were severely damaged by drought in 2006 and 2007. Analysts are expecting Australia to harvest a normal-sized crop in a range of 20 million tonnes to 24 million tonnes this year.


In wheat deals expected this week, the Trading Corporation of Pakistan Saturday may finalize bids for importing 250,000 metric tonnes wheat.


There's no information on when the bids will be awarded.


Elsewhere, bearish news for soybean prices comes from India, where output this year is likely exceed the record production of 10 million tonnes last year.


Planting of soybean is expected to cover 9.5 million hectares this year, up 8% on year. Sowing is likely to conclude in the next few days, with planting already complete in 9.26 million hectares, said the Soybean Processors' Association of India.


India is a major supplier of soymeal to Asian countries, while it is one of the world's biggest importers of edible oils. So the country's oilseeds crop has an influence on global oilseeds availability and prices of oil.


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