September 18, 2003



China Buys 38 Million Tonnes Wheat From 1998 To 2002


China's grains bureau announced Thursday that it bought 38 million tonnes of wheat from farmers between 1998 and 2002, despite recent falls in output.


"We sold 50 million tonnes per year over the last two years," said Liu Dong Zhu, deputy director of the Department of Macromanagement State Adminstration of Grains.


She declined to comment when asked if that meant China still had wheat stocks of at least 90 million tonnes, as the country considers its wheat storage a state secret.


China became a wheat net exporter in 2003, despite wheat production falling to a 10-year low of 90.3 million tonnes, Liu said.


"Despite a shortfall in domestic production in 2003, as domestic stocks remain at a high level, the surplus situation will remain in the year," she said.


China was expected to produce 86.8 million tonnes of wheat in 2003. Its annual wheat consumption is estimated at 100 million tonnes, she said.