Insights March 2023
Insights March 2023
- Australian winter crop production is now estimated at a new record of 67.3 million tonnes in 2022/23. This is driving record pace for crop exports in recent months.
- Local wheat prices on the east coast have been steady to higher on solid demand from the feedlot sector while record production is acting as a handbrake on positive movements.
ABARES released their March Australian Crop Report in early March. Winter crop production in Australia is now estimated at a new record of 67.3 million tonnes in 2022/23. This surpassed the previous year's record by an extra four million tonnes. This represents an upward revision of around 8.4 per cent from the December 2022 report. Wheat and canola production also hit new records, while barley production ranks third.
Below average rainfall persisted in most Australian cropping regions during February. Queensland and New South Wales summer cropping regions experienced a third consecutive month of below average rainfall. This has been good for harvesting early planted sorghum. But sentiment is now turning negative towards later planted sorghum and the upcoming winter crop planting period in these regions. The 8-day rainfall outlook is positive for Queensland with 25-100mm forecast.
Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows combined wheat, barley and canola shipments totalled 4.53 million tonnes in January. This surpassed the previous January record set in 2016/17 by 10 per cent. Australian wheat exports increased their pace in January with 3.3 million tonnes shipped, a 25 per cent increase from December. A record crop along with wheat remaining competitively priced is proving sufficient to cover current global demand.
Chicago Board of Trade wheat prices have fallen five per cent in Australian dollars terms since the start of February. They are now trading near a 17-month low. The wheat market is pricing in that the Black Sea grain deal will be extended in mid-March. The expectation that ample supplies of grain from Russia and Ukraine will continue is putting downward pressure on prices.
Local prices on the east coast have been steady to higher on solid demand from the feedlot sector. Growers appear to be marketing lower grades of wheat into the feedlot system. At the same time growers remain reluctant to sell higher protein grades while they see potential for higher bids. It was the six per cent drop in Western Australia’s Kwinana APW prices over the month that dragged the APW wheat index down by A$6 per tonne. Kwinana prices mirrored continued weakness in US futures. The weight of tonnes from a record Western Australia crop is acting as a handbrake to any positive price movement.
Wheat remains an unpredictable and ultimately volatile market. After the past month’s losses, the wheat market looks oversold. How much it can recover will depend on Northern Hemisphere Spring weather and geopolitics.
Sources: Profarmer Australia
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