Australia to benefit from global wheat shortage

By Jamie Salter

Grain markets are looking to Australia to offset a poor global harvest of wheat as the nation prepares for its biggest yield in three years.

Rabobank global grains and oilseeds strategist Stefan Vogel said after an excellent 2019-20 European harvest, where the European Union exported 38 million tonnes of wheat, this year’s EU export volumes were set to fall by at least 10 million tonnes.

“We are all looking for good crops in Australia to make up the shortfall caused by the poor season in Europe,” Mr Vogel said.

Most European grain-growing nations, including France, Germany, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria, have been hit by dry conditions and poor yields.

Russia, another significant global wheat exporter, is expecting an almost 10 per cent smaller crop than last year.

“So if we want to keep stable or even growing global export volumes, Australia is actually required to give us a decent amount of wheat onto the world export market,” Mr Vogel said.

NAB agribusiness economist Phin Ziebell said Australia's wheat harvest would be an improvement on last season's yields.

"Our latest wheat crop forecast is for 24.7 million tonnes nationally this season,” Mr Ziebell said.

Rabobank Australian senior grains and oilseeds analyst Cheryl Kalisch Gordon said Australia was a significant player on the global grain export markets this year.

“With production prospects higher for grain growers in most areas, it will be a year that will start to make up (although not entirely) for the troubling years we’ve had recently,” she said.

The latest Rabobank Agribusiness monthly report for September 2020 has predicted Australian wheat prices to reach between $275 and $295 per tonne in quarter four, due to harvest pressure and a downward trending dollar.