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U.S. overtakes Australia as China's major wheat supplier

Staff Writer |
The U.S. overtook Australia as the major wheat exporter to China in May at 288,966 mt, supplying more than half of China's imports for the month, according to customs data released last week.

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Australian-origin wheat typically accounts for about half of China's wheat imports but U.S. wheat arriving in May was cheaper, weighed down by ample global stock projections in April.

Semi hard wheat with 11.5% protein from the U.S. was $30/mt cheaper than similar protein wheat from Australia in April, according to data from S&P Global Platts.

Buyers said higher protein wheat such as 14% protein from US in bulk was priced at $270/mt CFR Shanghai, while prime hard wheat, which was only available in small volumes, was at least $10/mt higher.

Meanwhile, China's wheat imports over January-May totaled 2.18 million mt, nearly doubling from the same period a year earlier, due to the wide price gap between domestic and imported cargoes and the shortage of suitable quality supply domestically.

The domestic price of premium grade wheat averaged Yuan 3,000/mt ($576/mt) over April-May, while imported high protein wheat from the U.S. averaged $270-$280/mt CFR Shanghai, buyers said.

China is forecast to produce 129.2 million mt of wheat in 2017-18, while wheat harvesting in major producing states across the northern plains has been completed.


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