October 28, 2011


Russian wheat export forecast revised up



Russia's wheat export forecast for 2011/12 has increased by four million tonnes to 20 million tonnes after it reopened for shipments in July, according to the International Grains Council (IGC).


Grain experts supercharged expectations for the Black Sea exports, putting a Russian record on the agenda, even as the US revealed a dive in its own shipments to their lowest of the marketing year.


The figure is two million tonnes ahead of the USDA's own estimate, and more than one million tonnes above the current record, set two years ago.


"Black Sea exports, especially from Russia, have captured a high proportion of demand in the first part of the season," the IGC, an intergovernmental group, said.


"While that country may eventually introduce measures to control shipments beyond a certain level, they are still seen setting new records."


Russia's total grain exports will come in at 23 million tonnes, the IGC said, below the 25 million tonne figure Russia has proposed as a cap before implementing levies to protect domestic supplies.


While neighbouring Ukraine has had a slow start to the season, "exports are expected to accelerate following the recent removal of export taxes," the council said.


The IGC, whose projections had already largely factored in a ditching of the tariffs, raised by 500,000 tonnes to nine million tonnes its forecast for Ukraine wheat shipments, and by one million tonnes to 10 million tonnes its estimate for corn exports.


The revisions follow evidence of Black Sea exporters strengthening their hold on world grain trading, largely at the expense of the US, whose own shipments have been held back by relatively high prices and, in corn, a dearth of exportable supplies.

Egypt, the world's biggest wheat importer, revealed on Wednesday that US supplies were, again, not offered at its latest tender, seen as a sign of their non-competitiveness in world trade.


Meanwhile, Ukraine, backed by a record harvest estimated by the IGC at 18 million tonnes and the USDA at 21 million tonnes, is seen gaining share of world corn trade, winning an order from Japan, the top importer of the grain, at a price reported at about US$260 a tonne.


European Union corn sales too are soaring too, reaching 165,000 tonnes this week to unusually outpace wheat shipments, official data showed.


EU corn shipments, as measured by export licences, have now reached 850,000 tonnes since the start of 2011-12, compared with 272,000 tonnes a year ago.


USDA weekly export data highlighted America's loosened grip on crop trading, showing shipments of corn, soy and wheat at 2011-12 lows, and well beneath market expectations.


"Export sales this morning were poor," broker US Commodities said.


US corn sales tumbled 81% week on week to 336,000 tonnes, compared with trade expectations of at least twice as much, with soy sales of 227,600 tonnes beneath estimates of 600,000-850,000 tonnes.


Wheat sales dropped 21% to 317,000 tonnes, below forecasts of as 350,000-550,000 tonne figure.

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