Latest USDA supply and demand report a ‘wash’ for wheat prices

A new USDA supply-and-demand report indicates the worldwide wheat supply will remain stable, with less U.S. production and more in the southern hemisphere.

The USDA estimates less U.S. wheat production this year but more production worldwide.

That won’t send wheat prices higher anytime soon, market experts say.

The USDA World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report found a total U.S. wheat supply of 92.5 million metric tons, up 16.2 percent from 79.7 million metric tons in 2016.

Global production projections increased from February’s estimate by 2.8 million tons to 751.1 million tons due to larger crops in Argentina and Australia.

Total world supply is 991.4 million metric tons, up 4.1 percent from 952.8 million metric tons in 2016.

“We still have a cumbersome supply, projecting over a billion bushels,” said Darin Newsom, senior analyst for DTN in Omaha, Neb. he said. “It’s mostly a wash in the wheat market, given the abundance of wheat available.”

The season-average wheat price for U.S. growers remains at $3.85 per bushel from February. Soft white winter wheat ranged from $4.64 to $4.79 per bushel on the Portland market.

“This was about the most boring USDA report we’ve ever had,” Dan Steiner, grain merchant at Morrow County Grain Growers in Boardman, Ore. “Which is good: The market was well-anticipated. There simply wasn’t any surprise.”

Marketers will begin looking at weather reports, which will impact the direction of wheat prices, said Byron Behne, marketing manager for Northwest Grain Growers in Walla Walla, Wash.

“If the Southern Plains continues to be hot and dry, the market will start to take notice of that at some point,” Behne said. “Weather scares somewhere in the Northern Hemisphere over the next few months will probably provide some selling opportunities at some point.”

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