Global Wheat Stockpiles Forecast Lower as Drought Curbs Crops

Global wheat stockpiles as of June 1, 2013, will be 1.3 percent lower than forecast a month ago as drought curbs production in countries including Russia and the U.S., the world’s biggest exporter, the government said.

Inventories at the end of the marketing year will total 185.76 million metric tons, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today in a report, down from 188.13 million tons forecast on May 10. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expected 185.06 million tons. Production will reach 672.06 million tons, compared with 677.56 million tons estimated last month, the USDA said.

Daily harvest reports from parts of Kansas, the biggest U.S. producer of winter grain, show that “yields were worse than they thought,” Dan Manternach, a wheat economist at Doane Advisory Services in St. Louis, said in a telephone interview before the report was released. “We’ve had reports out of several Black Sea countries where they’ve lowered their own export-availability forecasts.”

Wheat has gained 4.9 percent on the Chicago Board of Trade since May 10, when the USDA forecast that global supplies at the end of May 2013 will be 4.5 percent smaller than a year earlier. Since then, little rain has fallen in parts of Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, where winter varieties are grown.

Futures for July delivery yesterday closed at $6.305 a bushel, up less than 0.1 percent. Prices will average $7.80 in the third quarter, Societe Generale SA predicted in May.

Growers in the U.S. will produce 2.234 billion bushels (60.8 million tons) in the year that began June 1, the USDA said. That’s down from 2.245 billion forecast in May. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg forecast output at 2.212 billion bushels.

Production in Russia, projected to be the fourth-biggest exporter in the 2012-2013 season, will total 53 million tons, compared with 56 million estimated in May, the USDA said. The combined crops from 12 nations of the former Soviet Union will reach 94.76 million tons, down from 97.76 million forecast a month ago, according to today’s report.

The 27-member European Union will produce 131.01 million tons, down from 132 million estimated in May and from 137.38 million tons a year earlier, the USDA said. The crop suffered from a dry spell in May that followed a damaging freeze in February, according to William Tierney, the chief economist at AgResource Co. in Chicago.

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