AUSTRALIA exported 763,733 tonnes of bulk wheat in February, with South Korea on 90,265t and The Philippines with 85,595t its biggest markets, according to the latest shipping figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
The February figure was down from the 989,563t shipped in January, and reflects the reduced export surpluses from Queensland and New South Wales, where a tough growing season impacted on area and yields.
Market Check’s Andrew Retallick said the smaller number was not unexpected, given current supply-and-demand figures, especially on the east coast, where they are at their tightest in more than a decade.
“East-coast wheat stocks-to-use ratios are sitting at a touch over 10 per cent versus the five-year average of 20pc,” Mr Retallick said.
“Domestic markets are working to keep stocks from being exported and leaving domestic consumers and end-users short.
Australia’s new-crop wheat exports started in October, and up to the end of February were sitting at 5 million tonnes (Mt), 70pc of the five-year average for this period.
“The 2017/18 wheat export target for Australia is 14.1Mt, but this is below the USDA forecast.”
“Indonesia, our main destination, only took 81,000t in February in containerised and bulk exports, which was significantly down from both December and January figures.
“While February export figures declined on January, there are signs of increasing demand for Australian wheat picking up in coming months, particularly from India; to reach 14.1Mt, it will need to.”
Victoria and South Australia are sitting above the five-year average, given their stronger-than-usual October-November export programs.
“Overall, all states are on track to meet their export forecast, apart from Western Australia, which is lagging significantly.
“The WA wheat export target is 6.5Mt, with 2Mt currently exported. This is 60pc of the Oct-Feb five-year average.”
Mr Retallick said current strength in the domestic market was coming from ongoing snow cover in the northern plains of the US cropping belt, and continuing dry conditions across much of Australia.
Table 1: ABS export statistics for December 2017, revised January 2018 figures, and latest data for February 2018.
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