China, the world’s top consumer, committed to import 3.9 million metric tons of U.S. wheat this marketing year as of Sept. 26, Department of Agriculture data show. That compares with about 408,000 tons in the same period last year. The country’s imports may more than triple to 9.5 million tons, tying it with Egypt as the biggest buyer. Prices will stay above $6.50 through the middle of 2014, according to Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd.
“There’s such a big import program for wheat being anticipated in China this season, significantly up from last year,” said Graydon Chong, a grains and oilseeds analyst at Rabobank International in Sydney. “The additional demand from global markets at the moment is helping keep wheat prices a little firmer. We’ve seen a fair bit of demand come back.”
The contract for December delivery climbed 0.1 percent to $7.025 a bushel by 4:27 a.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. Milling wheat futures traded in Paris dropped 0.2 percent.
The worst drought in 50 years in areas of Argentina, South America’s biggest wheat exporter, resulted in “irreversible damage” to the crop, researcher Oil World said Oct. 22. Wheat-growing areas on the North China Plain may be drier than normal this winter, with crops dependent on rainfall in the spring, AccuWeather Inc. said.
“Supply trends and developments in China, Brazil and Russia are most supportive for wheat prices,” Paul Deane, ANZ’s senior agricultural economist, wrote in a report dated today. While improving weather conditions have allowed some increase in the pace of sowing after earlier delays, the area planted to winter grains in Russia’s central and southern regions are still 25 percent behind for this time of the year, he said.
Soybeans for January delivery gained 0.4 percent to $13.085 a bushel. Corn for December delivery was unchanged at $4.4275 a bushel.
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