Global Wheat Supplies Take a Pounding


South African wheat field.   ©Discott/Wikimedia Commons
South African wheat field. ©Discott/Wikimedia Commons

Much of the world depends on wheat as a food staple. According to a BBC report this month, global wheat supplies are at lows not seen since 2008.


Reports from China that flooding has taken a toll on the world’s largest wheat crop, news (BBC) that “millions of tons” of wheat supplies in Ukraine are blockaded by war, and India’s decision not to export wheat this year—due to the toll that severe heat has taken on their wheat crop—has led to volatility in wheat prices and looming shortages, according to BBC.


India: Harvesting wheat.  ©Jeevan/Pixabay
India: Harvesting wheat. ©Jeevan/Pixabay

Though India is not a major wheat exporter, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has asked India to reconsider the ban. States the BBC, lifting “the export ban … could play a significant role in helping alleviate the current wheat supply crisis for those countries most affected by the war in Ukraine.”


According to a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report, World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE), “The outlook for 2022/23 U.S. wheat is for reduced supplies, exports, domestic use stocks, and higher prices. U.S. 2022/23 wheat supplies are projected down 3 percent, as lower beginning stocks more than offset a larger harvest.” Despite a larger US 2021-2022 harvest, WASDE warns that “the first survey-based forecast for 2022/23 winter wheat production is down 8 percent from last year.”


In addition to the state of the U.S. market, WASDE reports that “the global wheat outlook for 2022/23 is for lower supplies and consumption, increased trade, and lower ending stocks. Global production is forecast at 774.8 million tons, 4.5 million lower than in 2021/22. Reduced production in Ukraine, Australia, and Morocco is only partly offset by increases in Canada, Russia, and the United States.”


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