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A report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) today estimated American reserves of wheat at the end of May will amount to 558 million bushels, a downward revision of just over 8% from the 608 million bushels that were predicted last month.
This was well below the 606 million-bushel median estimate from analyst surveyed by Bloomberg. The World Agricultural Supply and Demand (WASDE) report also increased the forecast for exports of wheat up to 1.175 billion bushels, more than 4% higher than previously estimated. Alongside greater usage estimated for US four mills, the stronger prospects for exports underpinned the drop in the forecast for stocks.
‘Exports are projected higher as reduced competition from Argentina, and strong sales and shipments, further boost prospects for US wheat in world trade,’ the report said.
The unexpected news helped push wheat futures higher and by mid-afternoon in Chicago, wheat futures for March were up 1.47% at $5.86 a bushel. Ahead of the report, futures had been trading down more than 1% on forecasts of favourable weather conditions in key growing regions. Looking back over the last 12 months, the price of wheat has been in decline, shedding 24% in value in the 12 months leading up to the end of last week on expectations that world output will rise.