Rising Global Wheat Trade Fails to Benefit U.S. Market Share

Global wheat trade surged by about 40 percent over the last 10 years, driven by growing population, increased urbanization, and changing consumer preferences. At the same time, the U.S. share of that trade dropped. In recent years, relatively lower-priced competitor supplies, particularly from the European Union, Russia, and Ukraine, have made U.S. wheat less competitive in the global market. Those exporters also have freight and logistical advantages in reaching the Middle East and Africa (North and Sub-Saharan), the regions that are driving most of the rise in global trade.

U.S. market share is expected to increase slightly in 2015/16 from last year's record low, primarily on projected tighter supplies in Canada. However, gains are limited by supplies from other competitors, a strong dollar, and relatively high U.S. wheat prices. While U.S. market share is expected to recover slightly, it will still be the second lowest on record. Until 2013/14, the United States was the world's largest exporter, but lost the position to the European Union. However, U.S. supplies are ample and can readily fill unexpected import demand surges or global production shortfalls.

OVERVIEW

Global production in 2015/16 is up and expected to be the second highest on record with larger crops in the EU, Russia, and Ukraine more than offsetting a drop in Argentina. Global trade is raised, driven by larger imports for Algeria, EU, and smaller increases in several other countries. Exports are raised for Russia and Ukraine but cut for Argentina. U.S. exports are unchanged. The season-average farm price is lowered from last month.

For 2014/15, global trade is nearly unchanged and U.S. exports are lowered slightly.

U.S. PRICES:

Wheat prices gyrated over the last month based on adverse weather conditions in Hard Red Winter (HRW) wheat growing areas and U.S. currency movements. Prices for all classes are up. HRW jumped $16/ton to $239, while Soft Red Winter (SRW) was up $15/ton to $216. Hard Red Spring (HRS) rose $10/ton to $280, while Soft White Winter (SWW) edged $6/ton higher to $237.

TRADE CHANGES IN 2015/16

Selected Exporters

  • Argentina is cut 500,000 tons to 6.2 million on smaller crop prospects.
  • Russia is up 1.0 million tons to 21.0 million as a larger crop boosts exportable supplies.
  • Ukraine is boosted 1.0 million tons to 11.5 million with higher production.

Selected Importers

  • Algeria is up 300,000 tons to 7.7 million on a smaller crop.
  • EU is raised 500,000 tons to 5.5 million on larger exportable supplies of feed-quality wheat in Ukraine.

TRADE CHANGES IN 2014/15

Selected Exporters- based on trade data

  • Argentina is down 500,000 tons to 4.0 million.
  • Russia is raised 700,000 tons to 22.2 million.
  • United States is cut 200,000 tons to 23.0 million.

Selected Importers- based on trade data

  • Bangladesh is raised 300,000 tons to 3.8 million.
  • Egypt is up 300,000 tons to 11.4 million.
  • Iran is cut 700,000 tons to 5.8 million.
  • Syria is down 700,000 tons to 1.0 million.
  • Thailand is raised 400,000 tons to 3.1 million.