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在线翻译:
szdaily -> World Economy -> 
Global wheat supply to hit crisis levels due to hot, dry summer
    2018-08-23  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

A SCORCHING hot, dry summer has ended five years of plenty in many wheat producing countries and drawn down the reserves of major exporters to their lowest level since 2007/08, when low grain stocks contributed to food riots across Africa and Asia.

Although global stocks are expected to hit an all-time high of 273 million tons at the start of the 2018/19 grain marketing season, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates, the problem is nearly half of it is in China, which is not likely to release any onto global markets.

Experts predict that by the end of the season, the eight major exporters will be left with 20 percent of world stocks — just 26 days of cover — down from one-third a decade ago.

The USDA estimates that China, which consumes 16 percent of the world’s wheat, will hold 46 percent of its stocks at the beginning of the season, which starts around now, and more than half by the end.

The 126.8 million tons China is estimated to hold is up 135 percent from 54 million five years earlier.

“People need to get rid of China stocks [in their calculations] ... if you do that, it’s just exceptionally tight,” said Dan Basse, president of AgResource Co. in Chicago.

A repeat of the 2007/2008 crisis, which forced many countries to limit or ban exports, is unlikely in the absence of other drivers at the time, including US$150-per-barrel crude oil .

The recent three-year high for wheat prices of US$5.93 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade pales in comparison to the high of US$13.34-1/2 a bushel in February 2008.

Importers in North Africa also appear to be better placed this time, with higher stocks of their own.

“It could have an impact on food inflation but in North African countries they have a good crop this year, fortunately, so their reliance is not as big as in the past years,” said Abdolreza Abbassian, chief economist at the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

“I don’t think we want to be alarmist in terms of consequences,” he added.

China started stockpiling wheat in 2006, setting a guaranteed floor price to ensure food security and stability. At around US$9.75 a bushel last week, Chinese prices are now so high that they cannot sell internationally without incurring a major loss. (SD-Agencies)

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