Dryness-hit Australia faces 30% wheat export slump
Commonwealth Bank of Australia raised doubts over Australia hanging on to second place among world wheat exporters by forecasting a slump of nearly 30% in shipments, to a level well below official estimates.
The bank forecast that the country’s wheat shipments will tumble to 17.8m tonnes in the 2012-13 marketing year – which has, with the harvest, just started in Australia.
The estimate is far below the 21.5m tonnes forecast by Abares, Australia’s official commodities bureau, and by the International Grains Council, and a 21.0m-tonne estimate from the US Department of Agriculture, whose data set world benchmarks.
And it would, on current USDA figures, demote Australia behind Canada as well the US in the world wheat exporters’ league.
The estimates also imply tougher competition for wheat among importers at a time when available supplies in big exporting nations have already been hit by poor weather in parts of Europe and, in particular, the former Soviet Union.