Analytical Reports

Grain: World Markets and Trade

U.S. Wheat Exports Declined in 2022/23 Despite Rebounding White Wheat Exports
On June 8, FAS released weekly Export Sales data completing the 2022/23 June-May marketing year (MY).
White wheat experienced favorable growing conditions and steady demand, driving exports up 35 percent from 2021/22 to 4.4 million tons.
Hard Red Winter (HRW) exports dropped 32 percent to 4.9 million tons on a drought-affected crop.
Hard Red Spring (HRS) and Soft Red Winter (SRW) remained relatively steady at 5.4 million tons and 2.7 million tons, respectively.
Durum exports doubled to 395,000 tons, though accounting for just 2 percent of total U.S. 2022/23 wheat exports.

Hard Red Winter (HRW): Mexico remained the single largest destination for HRW, accounting for 30 percent of 2022/23 accumulated exports. Lower supplies and high U.S. prices, however, caused U.S. HRW exports to fall nearly one third year over year. U.S. exports to Nigeria, the second largest market for U.S. HRW in recent history, fell 45 percent to 534,000 tons on significant currency challenges constraining purchases. Overall U.S. wheat exports to Nigeria fell 52 percent year over year; HRW, which is blended with lower quality wheat, made up more than two thirds of U.S. wheat sales to this market.

Soft Red Winter (SRW): Mexico is the largest market for SRW exports, accounting for 34 percent of SRW shipments.
Sales in 2022/23 remained relatively flat, up just 2 percent. In contrast, sales of SRW to Ecuador showed strong year-on-year growth, more than doubling to become the third largest export destination for SRW. SRW exports to China dropped 55 percent, slipping from the second largest SRW market in 2021/22 to the fourth in 2022/23. With uncompetitive U.S. prices, China purchased large volumes of wheat from Australia and Canada.

Hard Red Spring (HRS): The Philippines remained the largest market for U.S. HRS, representing over 20 percent of the exports of this class. The Philippines imported 1.1 million tons of HRS in 2022/23, a 22-percent decrease from 2021/22 amidst weak economic conditions. Exports to Japan fell 25 percent. Meanwhile, HRS exports to Mexico grew 44 percent, surpassing Japan as the second largest HRS importer in 2022/23. HRS exports to Vietnam and Burma rebounded after significant drops in 2021/22.

Driven by strong demand, China imports of White wheat rebounded, nearly doubling to 870,000 tons, making it the second largest importer of U.S. White wheat after the Philippines. Philippines imports, overall, have slowed in the past 5 years on high prices resulting in reduced demand. Indonesia imports of U.S. White wheat rebounded after minimal imports in 2021/22 when Russia’s invasion of Ukraine caused price spikes.

Durum exports doubled from 2021/22, reaching 395,000 tons. The increase was driven by higher U.S. production and strong demand for U.S. supplies. The EU, specifically Italy, remains the largest market for U.S. durum exports where it is used for pasta production. Exports to Algeria nearly quintupled to 165,000 tons, as their domestic durum crop was affected by significant drought. Durum demand remains high in Algeria, as it is used to produce staple foods couscous and pasta.



Global production is forecast up significantly, with larger crops in India, Russia, the EU, and Ukraine. Larger supplies drive an increase in global trade as exports for Russia, the EU, India, and Ukraine have been adjusted higher. Imports are forecast higher with greater demand from China as some growing regions were impacted by heavy rains. Global consumption is forecast higher as increased feed and residual use in China, Russia, and India more than compensates for a decline in food, seed and industrial (FSI) use in Syria. The U.S. season-average farm price is forecast down 30 cents to $7.70 per bushel.


Global production is forecast slightly higher this month with an upward revision to Brazil production. Global trade is also forecast up on stronger-than-expected Ukraine exports. Imports are forecast higher with strong demand from the EU, China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Algeria that offsets weaker demand from Morocco and Indonesia. Global consumption is forecast down on reduced FSI use in Syria, Nigeria, and Indonesia. The U.S. season-average farm price forecast remains at $8.85 per bushel.


Domestic: Since the May WASDE, U.S. quotes have fallen for all classes except Soft White Winter (SWW), which rose just $3/ton to $287 on continued demand. Hard Red Winter (HRW) prices fell $20/ton to $353 on downward pressure from global prices and some easing of the drought in the Southern Plains. Hard Red Spring (HRS) prices fell $17/ton from last month to $340 on slow demand and improved planting progress from the new crop. Soft Red Winter (SRW) fell $13/ton to $251, reflecting favorable weather for the new-crop and downward pressure from international prices.

Global: Larger production forecasts and relatively unimpeded exports from the Black Sea have, overall, caused global wheat prices to fall since the May WASDE. Russian quotes dropped $33/ton on ample supplies and robust demand. U.S. HRW quotes slipped $20/ton on downward pressure from global prices. EU quotes fell $14/ton on ample supplies and favorable outlook for the new crop, especially in Eastern Europe. Canadian quotes declined $10/ton on optimistic forecasts for 2023/24 production. Australian quotes fell $4/ton on large supplies. By contrast, Argentine quotes rose $28/ton as exportable supplies dwindle.



Global rice production is nearly unchanged with a larger projected India crop offset by smaller forecasts for Thailand and Cambodia. Global consumption is up with increases for India and the Philippines. Imports are forecast higher, mainly for Kenya and the Philippines. Global stocks are projected higher due to a significant increase in India’s carryover stocks from 2022/23.


Global rice production is up significantly, mostly as a result of a larger crop in India. Global consumption is down with Kenya and the Philippines partially offsetting lower consumption in Iran. Exports are projected down, mainly from China and Pakistan. Imports are forecast higher, mainly due to Iraq, Kenya, and the Philippines offsetting lower estimated imports by China and Iran. Global stocks are significantly higher, primarily on an increase for India.


In the past month, U.S. export quotes remained at $760/ton and Uruguayan quotes at $600/ton. Thai prices rose slightly by $2 to $517/ton. Vietnamese prices rose $13 to $503/ton due to limited supply and high domestic prices. Pakistani quotes showed the largest increase, up $45 to $545/ton with tight supplies and strong demand. Indian quotes also went up by $15 to $455/ton, continuing to be the lowest priced for major global exporters.


Iraq on Pace for Record Rice Imports
Iraq rice imports have seen a notable surge in 2023, with imports estimated at a record high of 2.2 million tons. If realized, Iraq would become the fourth largest rice importer. This year, Iraq has faced multiple issues that have hampered rice production, principally water scarcity. Therefore, imports have risen to help meet domestic demand. In the first 4 months of 2023, Iraq imported over 815,000 tons of rice. Rice exports to Iraq have steadily risen over the past few years, with significant quantities of rice from Thailand, India, and the United States.

Thus far in 2023, the United States has exported 88,000 tons of rice to Iraq, representing 11 percent of total imports. The Government of Iraq signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the United States for 2022-2023 that calls for Iraq to purchase up to 200,000 tons of U.S. rice. At the end of 2022, the Government of Iraq purchased 88,000 tons of U.S. rice despite U.S. prices being higher than alternative suppliers. According to the weekly U.S. Export Sales, another shipment of 44,000 tons of U.S. rice was exported to Iraq in May. An additional 80,000 tons in outstanding sales remains to be split between MY 2022/23 and MY 2023/24.

Most Iraq rice imports are sourced from either Thailand or India. Thus far in 2023, India has exported approximately 225,000 tons to Iraq. Thailand has exported nearly 470,000 tons to Iraq in 2023, accounting for 57 percent of the market. India and Thailand’s rice exports to Iraq have remained robust due to competitive prices and large supplies. Since 2022, Thailand has been the main supplier to Iraq after losing market share to India and Vietnam since 2014. Up until 2022, India had grown to be the dominant supplier, exporting basmati rice to Iraq. However, Iraq has reduced its purchases of Indian rice due to consumer preference of non-fragrant white rice from Thailand. Looking ahead, Iraq imports are forecast to decline in 2024 due to a larger expected crop.



Global corn production is forecast to increase for Ukraine and Zambia. Global trade is forecast to rise as increases for Ukraine and Brazil more than offset weaker exports from Argentina. Global imports are forecast to increase on stronger demand from the European Union. The U.S. season-average farm price remains unchanged at $4.80 per bushel.


Global corn production is forecast upwards as higher crops for Brazil, India, and South Africa more than offset reductions for Argentina and Mexico. Global trade is forecast up modestly, with higher exports for Ukraine, the European Union, and South Africa more than offsetting reductions in exports from Argentina and the United States. Global imports are down marginally with a reduction in imports for the United States. The U.S. season-average farm price is unchanged at $6.60 per bushel.


Since the May WASDE, U.S. and Brazilian bids were up, while bids for Argentina and Ukraine declined slightly. U.S. bids were up $3/ton to $272, little changed from last month, though prices have risen recently in response to dry conditions in the western and central corn belts. Brazilian bids were up $5/ton to $245 on robust demand for the upcoming record harvest. Argentine bids were $241/ton, down $11 from last month. Expectations of large supplies in Brazil are pressuring Argentina suppliers to offer cheaper quotes to remain competitive despite tight supplies. Ukrainian bids were $215/ton, down $10.

South Africa Increases Corn Exports to China
Since the start of 2023, South Africa has exported more than 100,000 tons of corn to China, the largest amount from Africa’s leading corn producer since the signing of an export protocol in 2014. Ample exportable supplies in South Africa and a continued decline in the South African Rand (ZAR) have timed well with sustained demand in China.

Overall production of corn in 2022/23 is expected to reach 17.0 million tons, of which South Africa is forecast to export 3.7 million tons. While a slight fall from the record reached in 2021/22, this increase in output has placed downward pressure on South African corn export prices, allowing the country to become price competitive in the global corn market. This abundance of supplies has been matched by a steady decline in the value of the rand to the dollar. The rand has fallen more than 15 percent since the start of 2023.

Official trade data indicates that the unit value for a 50,000-ton shipment of yellow corn in March was just $318/ton. In the same month, China Customs data indicated that unit values for Brazil and Ukraine corn were more than $30/ton higher.

Relative to the size of China’s demand, recent purchases of a little more than 100,000 tons of yellow corn are small. However, China is actively seeking to add new suppliers of corn in part due to the ongoing war in Ukraine and uncompetitive prices out of its chief supplier, the United States. Burma, an exporter of comparable size to South Africa, received phytosanitary permissions from China on February 18, 2022, enabling cross-border corn trade to begin. The first shipment recorded in 2022 was only 16,000 tons. However, marketing year-to-date China Customs data reports corn imports from Burma of more than 300,000 tons – a volume higher than its previous 3 years of exports without the phytosanitary protocol combined. South Africa could similarly benefit from renewed interest in this partnership.

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