November 11, 2011


Australia overtakes Russia in wheat exports



Australia is ahead of Russia as the world's third biggest wheat exporter after its shipments jumped 36% to 18.6 million tonnes in the marketing year ended September.


Another bumper year is expected, with the country's government forecaster previously saying wheat exports could rise again to a record 20.4 million tonnes in the current marketing year.


The previous record was in 1996/97 when 19.2 million tonnes of the grain were sold overseas.


"There is going to be a lot of wheat so exports could be more than 19 million tonnes as there will be more wheat out of Western Australia where they have got plenty of export capacity," said an analyst at private consultant ACF.


Australia's wheat exports jumped from 13.7 million tonnes a year earlier, helped by a bumper harvest, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said.


This puts it behind just the US and the EU in global rankings, according to US government data, after a severe drought curbed Russian shipments.


About 8.2 million tonnes of wheat, left over from previous harvests, was still in storage at the end of the September, following a record 2010/11 harvest of 26.3 million tonnes, according to ABS data.


After taking into account domestic consumption, Australia could have around 27 million tonnes of wheat looking for markets in the current marketing year, although old-crop stocks at the end of September 2012 could be similar to a year earlier, according to ACF's Warburton.


"The big question is what the quality will be as it is too early to say but there have certainly been some quality issues in Western Australia and there may be some in eastern Australia as well as the weather outlook suggests more rain," said Warburton.

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