Canada affirms view for small rise in wheat output
By Rod Nickel
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Canada's monopoly wheat exporter maintained its forecast for a small rise in production from the world's No. 3 seller this year, but offered a slightly more upbeat forecast for global output.
The outlook from the Canadian Wheat Board, one of the world's biggest grain marketers, offers modest relief for millers who have been hurt this year by an acute shortage of higher-quality wheat following excessive moisture in Western Canada last year and flooding in Australia.
It also underscores the intense competition among cash crops this year, with wheat still struggling to take acres from canola, corn and soybeans. Production of durum, used to make pasta, is expected to rise by about a quarter in Canada, but will remain flat globally at about 35 million tonnes.
Wheat prices have surged nearly 80 percent since the summer, but corn prices have doubled and remain near post-2008 peaks; wheat is down 7 percent this month.
Canada will harvest about 23.8 million tonnes of all-wheat in 2011, up less than 3 percent from the three-year low of 23.2 million tonnes harvested last year and virtually the same estimate the board released in January, CWB said Monday at its annual Grain World conference in Winnipeg.
The Wheat Board pegged global wheat production at 653.5 million tonnes in 2011, up from 647.5 million tonnes last year, but sharply lower than last week's International Grains Council forecast of 672 million tonnes.
The board's global wheat estimate is the mid-point in a range from 638 million tonnes to 672 million tonnes as uncertainty hangs over Russia's crop this year after severe drought a year ago.