EU raises 2020-21 wheat export forecast, cuts maize imports

The European Commission has increased its forecast of common wheat exports from the European Union’s 27 member countries in 2020-21 to 27 million tonnes from 26 million projected last month.

That remained well below the 36.9 million tonnes estimated for 2019-20, reflecting a sharp drop in harvest supply this season, the commission’s grain supply-and-demand data showed.

The increased export outlook, coupled with a 400,000-tonne reduction in expected imports to 2.4 million tonnes, led to a downward revision to forecast common wheat stocks at the end of the season to 9.5 million tonnes from 9.9 million, the data showed.

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That would be below estimated common wheat stocks of 9.8 million tonnes at the end of last season.

Tightening supply has supported a rally in EU wheat futures to 7-1/2-year highs this week.

However, the commission’s cut to expected 2020-21 common wheat stocks was limited by a 700,000-tonne upward revision to usable harvest production, to 117.1 million tonnes, and a 200,000-tonne reduction to forecast biofuel use, to 3.3 million tonnes.

For maize (corn), the commission reduced by two million tonnes its forecast for 2020-21 EU imports to 16.5 million tonnes.

However, a sharp increase to usable production, to 64.8 million tonnes from 62.6 million estimated last month, and a one-million-tonne cut to forecast animal feed use led the commission to increase projected maize ending stocks by around one million tonnes to 19.1 million.

In oilseeds, forecast EU rapeseed imports in 2020-21 were raised to six million tonnes from 5.5 million, the data showed.

Projected ending stocks were unchanged at 800,000 tonnes, with the additional imports offset by a similar-size increase to expected crushing demand.

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