Russian Grain Exports Surge to a Record

Russia’s investment in deep water port capacity and improvements in logistics management are boosting its ability to ship larger quantities of grain. Modernization of grain loading equipment, storage, and rail transportation have eased bottlenecks that caused shipping delays in the past. Russia can load panamax (50,000 tons) and handy-size vessels (25,000 tons) in deep water ports and coastal lighters (3-5,000 ton vessels) in shallow water ports. Although recent investment has increased the capacity to ship grains, weather can still cause unpredictable delays across distribution channels.

Investments in ports and logistics management have contributed to record shipments. In a typical year, nearly 40 percent of wheat exports are shipped during July-September, immediately following harvest. This year, exports in August were a record 4.2 million tons (20 percent of the total export forecast), up 40 percent from the same month last year. Russia’s wheat and barley exports are both projected at record levels. Corn exports are also expected to remain strong, although down from last year’s record.

The implications for global trade have been profound, particularly for wheat. World wheat trade has risen nearly 40 percent in 10 years, with Russia capturing a substantial portion of this increase. While Russia’s wheat production and exports can vary, production has grown 30 percent over the same period and exports have tripled.



Global production for 2014/15 is raised to a record 720 million tons, driven mainly by larger crops in the EU and Ukraine. Global trade is projected up with larger imports expected for Algeria, Iran, Mexico, Pakistan, and the United States. Projected exports for Canada, EU, and Ukraine are raised, while the United States is lowered. The season-average farm price is projected lower.


Domestic: Hard Red Spring (HRS) surged $44/ton to $392 in August on quality concerns following heavy rains along with some continuing logistical issues in the Northern Plains. The prices of most other wheat classes were steady, weighed down by large global supplies. Hard Red Winter (HRW) eased $9/ton to $281, while Soft Red Winter (SRW) rose $6/ton to $245. Soft White Wheat (SWW) is unchanged at $263/ton.


Selected Exporters

• Brazil is raised 500,000 tons to 1.0 million as government policies raise export prospects.

• Canada is boosted 1.0 million tons to 22.0 million as abundant old-crop supplies continue to support exports.

• European Union is up 1.0 million tons to 26.0 million with a larger crop and strong pace of export licenses.

• Kazakhstan is 500,000 tons higher at 6.5 million on stronger demand in nearby markets, particularly in Iran.

• Ukraine is raised 1.0 million tons to 10.0 million based on a bigger crop.

• United States is lowered 500,000 tons to 25.0 million as competition intensifies with other major exporters.

Selected Importers

• Algeria is boosted 1.0 million tons to 7.0 million on large purchases and a smaller crop.

• Iran is raised 500,000 tons to 5.0 million on the pace of recent purchases.

• Mexico is up 300,000 tons to 3.8 million based on tighter carry-in supplies.

• Pakistan is boosted 1.0 million tons to 1.5 million based on recent purchases and growing demand.

• United States is raised 300,000 tons to 4.4 million with strong early-season imports from Canada expected to continue.


Selected Exporters- based on trade data

• European Union is raised 425,000 tons to a record 31.9 million.

• Kazakhstan is lowered 300,000 tons to 8.0 million.

• Mexico is up 322,000 tons to 1.3 million.

Selected Importer- based on trade data

• Algeria is up 484,000 tons to 7.5 million



Global trade in 2015 is barely up from last month but no longer a record as greater expected Thai exports in 2014 push overall world trade higher. Production, consumption, and stocks are down slightly for 2014/15. U.S. exports are lowered on reduced supplies.

Although Sub-Saharan Africa’s demand for imported rice has more than doubled since 2000, India and Thailand are making it difficult for other exporters to benefit. Massive stocks in both countries are forcing prices down, and Sub-Saharan Africa, notoriously price-sensitive, is buying them up. Thailand was always a large supplier, receding only briefly when prices were high due to the Paddy Pledging Scheme. India did not traditionally export much to Africa, but huge supplies and competitive prices made India the top seller the past 2 years. China, a major supplier in 2000, is virtually out of the market while newer suppliers like Vietnam, Burma, and Brazil are getting squeezed and must look elsewhere for buyers.


• Thailand’s exports are raised 500,000 tons to 9.5 million in 2014 on strong demand and competitive prices.

• United States’ exports are down 100,000 tons to 3.4 million in 2015 on reduced supplies



World corn production is a record in 2014/15 as larger crop forecasts for the United States, EU, and Brazil more than offset smaller production in China, Argentina, and Ukraine. Although global trade is unchanged, U.S., Brazilian, and EU exports are boosted because of less competition from Argentina. The U.S. season-average farm price is sharply lower due to prospects for huge domestic supplies.

For 2013/14, global corn trade is sharply higher on strong late-season demand, especially from Algeria and the EU. U.S. exports are up slightly. The season-average farm price is unchanged.


Following the release of the August WASDE report, U.S. corn quotes were nearly unchanged until early September. Since then, they have dropped about $13/ton to $183 as continued favorable weather has supported expectations for a larger crop. The premium of U.S. quotes over South American has remained largely unchanged even as U.S. new-crop sales wane and South American shipments ramp up. Black Sea quotes remain about $10/ton below U.S.


Selected Exporters

• U.S. corn is boosted 500,000 tons to 44.5 million on prospects for a larger crop and less competition from Argentina. (2013/14 exports are up 500,000 tons to 49.5 million.)

• Argentine corn is slashed 1.5 million tons to 13.5 million because of a forecast smaller harvest in 2015.

• Brazilian corn is boosted 500,000 tons to 22.5 million on a higher crop estimate in 2014 and a larger forecast in 2015.

• EU corn is up 500,000 tons to 2.5 million on a larger crop.

• Paraguayan corn is cut 200,000 tons to 1.9 million as less is expected to be shipped after October 1. (2013/14 exports are raised 300,000 tons to 2.3 million.)

• Serbian corn is up 200,000 tons to 2.5 million on a larger crop.

• Argentine barley is cut 500,000 tons to 2.0 million on smaller crop prospects. (EU and Ukrainian barley are up 200,000 tons each on greater exportable supplies and less competition.)

• Canadian barley is up 200,000 tons to 1.0 million on larger supplies and stronger U.S. demand.

• Argentine sorghum is cut 500,000 tons to 1.3 million on sharply lower production prospects.

• U.S. sorghum is boosted 400,000 tons to 5.0 million on less competition from Argentina.

Selected Importers

• Algerian corn is cut 200,000 tons to 3.4 million due to the timing of shipments. (2013/14 imports are up 600,000 tons to 4.2 million.)

• EU corn is slashed 1.0 million tons to 10.0 million due to greater domestic supplies of feed grains.

• Japanese corn is cut 300,000 tons to 15.7 million because of sluggish growth in feed demand.

• Taiwanese corn is cut 200,000 tons to 4.2 million because of larger carry-in stocks.

• Algerian barley is up 200,000 tons to 600,000 on a smaller crop.

• U.S. barley is boosted 100,000 tons to 600,000 due to lower availability of domestic malting barley supplies. (2013/14 is up 100,000 tons to 550,000.)


Selected Exporters- based on trade data

• Argentine corn is raised 1.5 million tons to 12.5 million.

• Brazilian corn is boosted 1.5 million tons to 22.0 million.

• Canadian corn is up 200,000 tons to 1.7 million.

• Indian corn is boosted 200,000 tons to 3.7 million.

• Australian barley is up 300,000 tons to 6.3 million.

• Ukrainian barley is raised 500,000 tons to 2.7 million.

• U.S. sorghum is boosted 300,000 tons to 5.6 million.

Selected Importers- based on trade data

• EU corn is up 500,000 tons to 16.0 million.

• Indonesian corn is up 200,000 tons to 3.3 million.

• South Korean corn is up 300,000 tons to 10.3 million.

• Malaysian corn is up 200,000 tons to 3.4 million.

• Moroccan corn is up 200,000 tons to a record 2.1 million.

• Chinese barley is up 700,000 tons to 4.5 million.

• Jordanian barley is up 200,000 tons to a record 950,000.

• Chinese sorghum is up 600,000 tons to a record 4.5 million.

• Japanese sorghum is cut 200,000 tons to 1.1 million