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Argentina wheat exports fall while Australia soars

16 December 20222 min reading

This year, the prospects for exportable supplies from Australia and Argentina are diverging dramatically. Australia is set to hit record exports while Argentina is forecast to plummet to its lowest exports in 8 years.

While the bulk of global wheat is produced and exported from the Northern Hemisphere, these Southern Hemisphere producers augment those supplies. Exports from the Southern Hemisphere rise as the new calendar year begins and Northern Hemisphere supplies dwindle. With major exporter ending stocks forecast at the lowest in a decade and with elevated export prices, the quality and quantity of Southern Hemisphere exportable supplies is critical.

This year, Australia is harvesting a record crop, forecast up 1 percent from the record set last year. Australia is set to become the third-largest exporter at 28.5 million tons in 2022/23 (July/June). It will have sufficient supplies of high-quality wheat that will largely be marketed to its core markets in Asia, especially Indonesia. However, untimely heavy rains at harvest diminished the quality of some wheat in eastern Australia, leading to a larger-than-normal amount of feed-quality wheat. Competitive prices for the feed-quality wheat are expected to result in larger exports to several East and Southeast Asian countries. Australian feed wheat prices have fallen from $400/ton in June to $280/ton in December. This increased availability of feed-quality wheat is especially critical given the tightening of global corn supplies in 2022/23.

Meanwhile, Argentina wheat supplies are set to contract by 40 percent in 2022/23 leaving limited exportable supplies. Argentina 2021/22 ending stocks dwindled as a result of its record exports which rose as Black Sea supplies became constrained amid the war in Ukraine. However, poor weather during the growing season in 2022/23 is reducing yields to the lowest since 2008/09 and trimming area harvested. Thus, the crop that is currently being harvested is estimated at only 12.5 million tons, down nearly 10.0 million tons from the prior year. Argentina will likely only export to its nearby core markets in the Western Hemisphere. Its largest market is Brazil which is forecast to import less given its own bumper crop. In 2021/22, Argentina reached more markets in Asia, but in 2022/23 these markets will likely shift to Australia and Black Sea wheat, which are flowing with more certainty given the extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative for another 120 days. USDA


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