UK wheat exports jumped in February to their highest in three years, boosted by the biggest sales outside the European Union since 2000, although the pace of shipments remains well below the level needed to avoid a heavy build-up in stocks.
The UK, the European Union’s third-ranked wheat producer, exported 267,116 tonnes of the grain in February, a rise of 94% month on month, and more than four times shipments in February last year.
The figure was also the highest since January 2012, the start of the second wettest year on record in the UK which – in badly affecting the quality of that year’s crop, and hampering autumn sowings ahead of the 2013 crop – began a chain of setbacks to UK wheat production and trade.
The country is only now returning to being a net exporter of wheat, with shipments for the first eight months of 2014-15, at 1.34mn tonnes, some 203,000 tonnes ahead of imports.
Even so, that implies a huge effort in the last four months of the season to avoid a build of wheat stocks in the UK, which is estimated to have an exportable surplus for 2014-15 of some 3.5m tonnes.
The rise in February wheat exports reflected in part strong shipments to Spain, a major buyer of feed grain, which lifted UK shipments to within the EU to a three-month high of 131,625 tonnes.
However, more remarkable was the 135,491 tonnes shipped outside the bloc – the biggest such exports since March 2000.
February exports included 52,675 tonnes to the Philippines, the first shipments to the country in dive years, and 55,000 tonnes sold to Thailand.
Shipments to distant countries have been encouraged by low shipping charges, with the Baltic Dry index in February setting a record low of 509 points, although it has since recovered to 580 points.
(Source – http://www.agrimoney.com/news/asian-purchases-lift-uk-wheat-exports-to-3-year-high–8185.html)