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China buys large amount of US wheat

Large U.S. wheat purchases by China have been rare, but not unprecdented.

Wheat Field Candiix Pixabay
Candiix | Pixabay.com

China has purchased an unusually large volume of U.S. wheat for the first time in over two years.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported a deal for 220,000 metric tons of U.S. soft red winter wheat for shipment to China in 2023-24, the U.S. marketing year that began June 1. That was the first daily sale of U.S. wheat to any destination since November, Reuters reported.

Large U.S. wheat purchases by China have been rare. The last occurrence was in July 2021, also soft red winter wheat.

Despite shrinking U.S. wheat exports, China has recently played a heavier role in that trade, accounting for 7% of U.S. wheat shipments in 2022-23 as the No. 4 destination. 

China's number one wheat supplier is Australia. Weakness in U.S. wheat prices has recently made U.S. wheat competitive on-and-off against rival exporters, though abundant supplies in Russia have kept pressure on the global market.

Russia is expected to export 47.2 million metric tons of wheat this season, which started in the summer, according to data from S&P Global. This will amount to 22.5% of global wheat exports, a market-leading share. Two years ago, Russia exported 32.6 million tons, 16% of the market.

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