Indonesia now world’s biggest wheat importer: USDA

Grain Central, February 9, 2018

INDONESIA has eclipsed Egypt as the world’s largest importer of wheat, according to the February World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report released overnight by the USDA.

USDA raised Indonesia’s wheat import projection to 12.5 million tonnes (Mt), up 2Mt from its several previous monthly forecasts, based on increased to higher expected usage of wheat for food and feed.

High stocks prevail

While down 1.98Mt from the January WASDE figure, wheat ending stocks at 266.1Mt are still about 5 per cent higher than stocks in past two seasons, and 50Mt higher than the 10-year average.

The February estimate registers production from southern-hemisphere wheat crops, which are now safely in the bin, while northern hemisphere crops are still developing, and therefore at risk of seasonal variability.

Wheat’s macro numbers, of production, total supply, trade and usage were all up, while ending stock was forecast down (Table 1).

USDA world wheat estimates, million tonnes:

  Production Total supply Trade Total use Ending stocks
2017/18 February projection


758 1011 182 745 266
2017/18 Jan projection


757 1010 181 742 268


750 992 183 739 253
2015/16 735 953 173 712 242


Corn shrinks

Coarse grains estimates include corn, sorghum, barley, oats, rye and some millets, and were forecast at 1322Mt.

February WASDE numbers reflect a 2.8Mt drop in global corn production, largely reflecting reductions for Argentina and Ukraine, which is supportive of values.

Subsequent reports will reflect tonnages produces by the Argentine and Brazilian corn crops.

Oilseeds balances up, and down, in South America

USDA made minor adjustments to individual country forecasts of soybean output, reducing the crop in Brazil by 4pc and increasing Argentina 2pc, setting world production at 347Mt,around 1pc below 2016/17, though 13pc greater than the previous three years’ average.

Total 2017/18 world production of all oilseeds was estimated at 579Mt.

World rapeseed, 73Mt production in 2017/18, is dominated by EU, Canada and China, 22Mt, 22Mt and 13Mt respectively; the same three countries are the major consumers, 26Mt, 9Mt and 18Mt respectively.

The USDA US soybean price outlook is unchanged at the mid-point, with the soy-oil price forecast at US31-34c/lb, down 1c/lb at the midpoint, and soybean meal price forecast up 2pc.

Source: USDA

  • For additional perspective on Australia’s important wheat trade with Indonesia click here for the presentation by Bogasari Flour Mills director Franciscus Welirang to the Australian Grains Industry Conference in Singapore in 2016.


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