Aug. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Russia, the world’s third-biggest wheat exporter last season, may harvest less of the cereal than in 2010, when the country had the worst drought in at least a half century and banned exports, SovEcon said.
The wheat crop may drop to 40.2 million to 42.5 million metric tons, Andrei Sizov Jr., SovEcon managing director, said today in an e-mail. That’s down from the Moscow-based researcher’s July 19 forecast of 46.5 million tons. Russia harvested 41.5 million tons in 2010 and 56.2 million tons in 2011, according to state statistics.
Russia planted about 2 million hectares (4.9 million acres) less wheat this year than in 2010, and average yields are lower, SovEcon said. Wheat production this year is estimated at 47 million tons by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service.
Wheat futures prices have climbed 38 percent this year on the Chicago Board of Trade, partly on speculation dry weather will curb supplies from Russia. Drought has left crops wilting in fields in the U.S., the world’s biggest wheat exporter. Dry weather persists also in Australia, the world’s second-biggest shipper, while the weakest monsoon in three years in India threatens to curb production there.
Wheat may reach $10 a bushel in Chicago this year because of the global drought, according to Sizov. Wheat for December delivery was down 0.4 percent today at $9.0225 a bushel. If world prices continue to grow “at an accelerated pace,” Russian exporters may try to push up sales, creating a domestic supply-demand imbalance, SovEcon said.
Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich and Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fedorov will discuss grain supplies tomorrow, according to the government’s press service and Dmitry Bobkov, the Agriculture Ministry spokesman.
Russia was the world’s third-biggest wheat exporter after the U.S. and Australia in 2011-12, according to USDA estimates. This year, it’s forecast to slip to fifth place, lagging behind the U.S., Australia, Canada and the European Union, USDA data show.
Russia will export 11 million tons of wheat in 2012-13, according to a grain report by the USDA’s FAS unit in Moscow dated July 26. Total grain exports may fall as low as 10 million tons this season, Dvorkovich said Aug. 2
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