China Wheat Area Seen Getting Dry Winter, Needing Rain in Spring

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.

Temperatures in central and eastern China may be mild during December, January and February, with some brief cold snaps occurring in northeastern areas, according to a seasonal outlook report for Asia from the State College, Pennsylvania-based forecaster. The main Chinese wheat-growing areas probably won’t see temperatures cold enough to damage crops that are dormant during winter months, said Dale Mohler, a senior meteorologist at AccuWeather.

“A dry winter alone wouldn’t be enough to cause serious problems as long as they get spring rains,” Mohler, who focuses on commodity forecasting, said in a telephone interview. “The crop could be in a little more stress going into the spring, so rains would have to start on time.”

China, the world’s top wheat consumer, committed to import 3.9 million metric tons of U.S. wheat this marketing year as of Sept. 26, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. That compares with about 408,000 tons in the same timeframe last year. Spot prices for some bread-quality wheat rallied to records this year in China after excess rain eroded the quality of the last harvest in May and June.

Wheat production in China in the 2013-14 season may be 121 million tons, unchanged for a record achieved in the previous season, while consumption climbs 1.2 percent to 126.5 million tons, the USDA estimates. Total imports may more than triple to 9.5 million tons, tying with Egypt as the world’s biggest buyer. Wheat on the Chicago Board of Trade, the global benchmark, climbed to a four-month high on Oct. 21.

The Philippines, Vietnam, southeast China and Taiwan may see tropical storms and typhoons through December amid warmer-than-normal waters in the Philippine and South China seas, according to the AccuWeather report. The coffee harvest in Vietnam, the world’s biggest producer of the robusta variety, may experience delays if heavy rain occurs, Mohler said.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.