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Tighter Black Sea wheat supplies disrupt global export market

Supply constraints are pushing global wheat prices up, reshaping trade dynamics and influencing the agricultural economy.

Wheat Seeds Pile

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service released the June 2024 Grain: World Markets and Trade report, highlighting disruptions in the global wheat export market due to tighter supplies from the Black Sea region. As Northern Hemisphere wheat harvests begin, attention is focused on production in Russia and Ukraine, key global wheat suppliers.

Russia, the largest wheat exporter, saw ample supplies in 2023/24 due to a bumper crop and substantial stocks, exporting a record 54.0 million tons, primarily to Turkey, Egypt, and Bangladesh. However, the forecast for 2024/25 has reduced Russia’s wheat production to 83.0 million tons, an 11% drop from the previous year, due to adverse weather. Consequently, Russian exports are projected to fall to 48.0 million tons, still the second-largest volume on record.

Ukraine, facing significant production declines and the lowest beginning stocks in years, is also expected to see reduced exports. Before the war, Ukraine’s wheat was predominantly shipped by sea to Asia. Disruptions have shifted exports to nearby destinations, with the European Union, Egypt, and Turkey as top markets in 2023/24. Ukraine’s 2024/25 exports are forecast at 13.0 million tons, the lowest in a decade.

These reductions in Russian and Ukrainian wheat supplies are driving global wheat prices higher. Recent downward revisions of crop estimates by various sources have further influenced the market, along with speculation about increased demand from India.

The report also noted that wheat prices have risen relative to corn, making wheat less attractive for feed use, potentially increasing demand for corn in regions that utilize both grains.

Wheat Overview for 2024/25:

  • Global production is forecast lower but remains at a record level.
  • Reduced production in Russia, the EU, and Ukraine.
  • Lower global consumption due to less competitive wheat prices for feed.
  • Imports are down for the EU and Turkey.
  • U.S. season-average farm price forecast up 50 cents to $6.50 per bushel.

Wheat Overview for 2023/24:

  • Minimal adjustments to production and consumption.
  • Record global trade with increased imports for China, Egypt, and Brazil.
  • Increased exports for the EU, Canada, Ukraine, and Russia.
  • U.S. season-average farm price down 10 cents to $7.00 per bushel.

Wheat Prices:

  • U.S. quotes mixed; Soft White (SWW) up $17 to $263/ton.
  • Hard Red Spring (HRS) down $20 to $288/ton.
  • Hard Red Winter (HRW) and Soft Red Winter (SRW) slightly down.

Rice Overview for 2024/25:

  • Global production and exports virtually unchanged.
  • Increased imports and consumption for the Philippines and Kenya.
  • Global stocks up, driven by increases in India and the Philippines.

Rice Overview for 2023/24:

  • Higher global production, primarily from India.
  • Increased imports for the Philippines, Kenya, and Iraq.
  • Higher exports from India, Vietnam, Pakistan, and Thailand.
  • U.S. prices up $1 to $784/ton.

Coarse Grains Overview for 2024/25:

  • Increased global corn production, mainly in Ukraine and Zambia.
  • Higher global trade with increased exports from South Africa, Ukraine, and Tanzania.
  • U.S. season-average farm price unchanged at $4.40 per bushel.

Coarse Grains Overview for 2023/24:

  • Global corn production unchanged.
  • Slight increase in global trade.
  • U.S. season-average farm price unchanged at $4.65 per bushel.
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