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U.S. Wheat-Supply Estimate Raised as Export Forecast Declines

U.S. wheat inventories at the end of the current marketing year will be 3.6 percent higher than forecast a month ago because of declining exports, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.

Stockpiles will total 716 million bushels (19.5 million metric tons) as of May 31, up from last month’s estimate of 691 million, the USDA said today in a report. In a Bloomberg survey, 21 analysts expected 702 million bushels, on average. Exports will total 1.025 billion bushels, down from a February forecast of 1.05 billion, according to the government.

“We missed our big opportunity to be a big exporter in the first half of the marketing year” when high prices discouraged overseas buyers from purchasing U.S. grain, said Tom Leffler, the owner of Leffler Commodities LLC in Augusta, Kansas, in a telephone interview. “Exports were never as good as people were expecting.”

As of the end of February, orders for U.S. wheat from overseas buyers for this marketing year were down 5 percent from a year earlier.

Wheat futures for May delivery fell 0.3 percent to $6.9325 a bushel at 7:41 a.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. The price has dropped 11 percent this year, partly on expectations for higher U.S. crop yields after recent wet weather in growing regions.

Global inventories at the end of May will total 178.23 million tons, 0.8 percent higher than last month’s estimate of 176.73 million, mostly because of bigger supplies in India and the U.S., the USDA said. Analysts expected 176.53 million, on average.

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