The U.S. and European Union are selling wheat at the fastest pace in at least six years, diminishing stockpiles even as farmers reap a record crop, according to reports.
Sales from the U.S. in the past three months have grown 38 percent from 2012 and export licenses issued by the EU have more than doubled, government data show. World inventories will drop to a five-year low by June 30 as farmers harvest 705.4 million metric tons, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates. Futures will rise 15 percent to $7.40 a bushel by the start of the next season on July 1, according to the median of 10 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
China, set to overtake Egypt as the biggest wheat buyer, may import three times more this season. Brazil already bought 41 times more from the U.S. since June 1, USDA data show. Demand increased as futures tumbled 32 percent from a four-year high in July 2012, as drought eased in the U.S., the biggest shipper. The EU is the second-largest exporter.
Wheat, 2012's best-performing commodity, has dropped 17 percent to $6.4575 on the Chicago Board of Trade since the start of January. The Standard & Poor's GSCI gauge of 24 commodities fell 0.3 percent and the MSCI All-Country World Index of equities rose 11 percent. The Bloomberg U.S. Treasury Bond Index lost 3.9 percent.
Global wheat consumption of 706.81 million tons will outpace production for a second consecutive year, leaving inventories of 172.99 million tons, the lowest since the 2008-2009 season, the USDA predicts. The agency will cut its forecast to 172.75 million tons when it releases new estimates at noon in Washington on September 12, according to the average of 15 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
U.S. exporters have sold 15.82 million tons of wheat since the marketing year began June 1, from 11.48 million tons at this time in 2012 and the fastest pace since 2007, according to USDA data. EU export licenses since July 1 climbed to 4.47 million tons, from 2.13 million a year earlier and the most since at least 2004.