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.

OVERVIEW

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.

PRICES:

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.

TRADE CHANGES IN 2014/15

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.

TRADE CHANGES IN 2013/14

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