China is now poised to overtake Egypt and Turkey as the biggest buyer of wheat in the year through June, Chinese and US official data show, reports Bloomberg. Purchases exceeded 12 million tons in the first 11 months of the marketing year, which runs through June. More than half of those cargoes were supplied by Australia.
Imports of the food staple accelerated above 1 million tons a month from October, before peaking at a record of 1.68 million tons in April. The US Department of Agriculture is forecasting another 12 million tons of Chinese imports in 2023-2024 after damage to the latest harvest left a lot of the crop suitable only for animal feed.
Heavy rains in Henan, China’s biggest growing region, have affected quality and pushed up prices of the higher-protein grain used to make bread and noodles. That should benefit wheat farmers and shippers around the world, while potentially hurting demand for other feed ingredients like corn and soybeans as more wheat gets swapped into livestock rations.