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Wheat Market Analysis

Approximately 80% of global wheat consumption goes directly into food and seed use. There are 11 wheat-producing countries, spread between the northern and southern hemispheres, which account for more than 85% of global production. Global wheat consumption is distributed among numerous consuming countries. Forecasting wheat prices have become more complex in the broader context of differing classes and grades of wheat, demand substitution between different grains for feed and changing trade flows.

Key facts about the wheat market
  • Global wheat production is expected to reach 764 million tonnes in 2019/20, of which 182 million tonnes would be exported and 751 million tonnes would be consumed.
  • Global wheat consumption annual growth has averaged about 1.5% in the last decade.
  • Russia and Ukraine have captured significant market share of the global export market in the last decade while the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia account for more than half of global wheat imports.
  • In the most recent price rally in 2019, Chicago wheat futures rallied by 29% in 48 days and fell by 21% in the two months that followed.
  • Wheat prices peaked at $9.43 per bushel in 2012 and bottomed at $3.88 in 2016 over the last decade, ranging between $4.25 per bushel and $5.75 per bushel in the last three years.

Key themes affecting the wheat market

In an environment of stable consumption growth and abundant stocks globally, much of the variation to the wheat supply chain emanates from supply shocks and major disruption to trade flows. Weather events, farmer profitability, and improved yield potential are some of the major factors that influence global wheat production. While the US remains a sizeable producer of wheat, the growing influence of producers such as Russia point to the need for industry participants to have enhanced visibility on production projections driven by surveys and expectations of farmer profitability.

Global wheat trade flows are made more complex by robust export competition between the major exporters. Currency devaluations in major exporting and importing countries, trade protectionism, and competition between different cereal grains compound on the complexity of global wheat trade flows. An integrated approach that combines wheat supply risks and demand factors both within and outside of the wheat complex is therefore necessary for a more robust approach in projecting prices.

The Chicago wheat contract, long considered the benchmark for global wheat prices, now faces more competition from other sources as the US account for a smaller share of production and exports globally. The entrance of algorithmic-based funds in the wheat futures market has impacted volatility and the role of fundamental analysis in price projections.

International wheat prices
Gulf HRW 12% Price ($/MT)German Wheat Price ($/MT)US Durum Milling Wheat Price ($/bushel)US Semolina Flour Price ($/cwf)
2017$190 - $279$181 - $214$7.80 -$11.45$20.15 - $29.10
2018$230 - $277$198 - $262$7.05 - $8.45$17.05 - $21.00
2019$200 - $248$217 - $226$6.80 - $8.75$16.85 - $21.70


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