U.K. Boosts Wheat Stockpile Estimate by 13% After Imports Jump

U.K. wheat stockpiles at the end of June were 13 percent bigger than previously estimated after imports surged to the highest since 1978, Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs data show.

Inventories at the end of June were 2.19 million metric tons, up from an estimate in May at 1.94 million tons, according to Defra data distributed today by the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board. Supplies were 46 percent higher than a year earlier even as excess rain cut domestic production by 13 percent to 13.26 million tons. U.K. wheat imports during the 2012-13 season were 2.94 million tons, more than triple a year earlier and the highest since 1978, customs data show.

“It has been particularly challenging to construct final balance sheets for wheat and maize this season where imports were much higher than anticipated and did not correlate well with the Defra usage and stocks survey data,” according to the report. “Investigations revealed some under reporting of stocks held by merchants, ports and cooperatives,” spurring the upward revision in the inventory estimate.

Supply and demand figures for corn, also known as maize, and oats are “still under investigation due to discrepancies in the data that need to be explored further,” according to today’s report. Customs data show U.K. corn imports of 1.69 million tons during the 2012-13 season, while Defra usage and stockpile figures indicate imports of 1.36 million tons.

“Investigations are being undertaken to identify the source of the discrepancy, these will include discussions with ports, consumers and stock holders to ascertain if under- or over-reporting has occurred in any of these areas of the balance sheet,” according to the report. “Defra welcome input from those involved in the U.K. maize market to assist in this process.”

U.K. stockpiles of barley at the end of June were pegged at 997,000 tons, 4.5 percent more than estimated in May and 6 percent more than a year earlier, Defra data show. Imports during the season were 235,000 tons, compared with exports at 384,000 tons.

To contact the reporter on this story: Whitney McFerron in London at wmcferron1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Deane at jdeane3@bloomberg.net

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