This report provides an analysis of U.S. and World wheat supply-demand factors and “next crop” 2017/18 marketing year price prospects following the USDA’s May 10th Crop Production and World Agricultural Supply Demand Estimates (WASDE) reports. This article will be available in full on the KSU AgManager website on Monday, May 22, 2017 (http://www.agmanager.info/).
Following is a summary – with the full analysis-article for Wheat Market Outlook in “Next Crop” MY 2017/18 to be found at this web location:
Since the USDA’s May 10th World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report, U.S. and World wheat futures market prices first traded lower then turned higher again. CME JULY 2017 Kansas HRW Wheat futures closed at $4.39 ¼ on 5/10/2017 – the day of the report. But after trading lower to close at $4.21 on May 16th, JULY 2017 Kansas HRW Wheat moved higher again to close at $4.38 on Friday, May 19th.
Projected World Wheat Supply-Demand in “Next Crop” MY 2017/18
For the “next crop” 2017/18 marketing year (MY) beginning on June 1st, the USDA projected the following.
First, that World wheat total supplies would be 993.2 million metric tons (mmt) with total use of 734.9 mmt – both marginally lower than the record high levels of “current” MY 2016/17.
Second, that World wheat exports will also trend lower to 178.35 mmt in the “next crop” 2017/18 marketing year – down from a record high of 179.7 mmt last year, but up from 172.85 mmt two years ago.
Third, that World wheat ending stocks would be a record high 258.9 mmt in “next crop” MY 2017/18 – up from 255.35 mmt last year, and from 242.4 mmt two years ago.
And fourth, that World wheat percent ending stocks-to-use (S/U) would be 35.1% – up from 34.5% last year, and from 34.0% two years ago – up to the highest level of World wheat supply-demand balances since 36.2% in MY 1999/00 and 36.5% in MY 1998/99.
Comparisons to “Short Crop” MY 2012/13
For a perspective on how historically large World total wheat stocks and World wheat percent stocks-to-use now are, in MY 2007/08 the 34-year low in World wheat ending stocks of 128.2 mmt and at least a 57-year low in percent ending stocks-to-use of 20.9% stocks/use both occurred – the last significant World wheat “short crop” marketing year. The “tight supply-demand” situation in MY 2007/08 compares to projections of 258.3 mmt ending stocks and 35.1% ending stocks-to-use projected for “next crop” MY 2017/18. The present “large crop-over supply” situation in World and U.S. wheat markets have a prevailing negative influence on U.S. and World wheat prices.
The Existing “Large Crop – Over Supply – Low Price” Market Condition
However, the broader “large crop-over supply-low price” situation in the World wheat market may be “obscuring” at least a couple of other important market issues.
First, while the quantity of wheat available in the World is plentiful, the available supply of high protein milling wheat is less so. This factor helps exports of U.S. Hard Red Spring (HRS) wheat (higher protein – good quality) relative to World wheat export competitors.
Second, while the aggregate supply of wheat in World markets has grown, the supply of wheat in the “World Less China” is projected to have actually “contracted” or “diminished” in “next crop” MY 2017/18. “World Less China” wheat percent stocks-to-use have declined to the tightest level since at least MY 2008/09 when average U.S. wheat cash prices averaged $5.70 /bu. If this “China supply isolation factor” eventually leads to noticeably tighter global supplies of available exportable wheat occurring in coming months, it would likely have a positive impact U.S. wheat market prices in “next crop” MY 2017/18.
The Likely Direction of the World Wheat Market Unless Major S-D Changes Occur
However, unless there is a change in the broader, overriding focus of the World wheat market away from aggregate global supplies to available “World Less China” supplies – it is likely that significant World wheat production problems and/or trade disruptions would need to occur in year 2017 in order to have wheat prices recover significantly in later 2017. Also, ongoing strength in the U.S. dollar exchange rate continues to be a negative factor limiting the competitive affordability of U.S. wheat exports in World markets. These factors together have resulted in higher U.S. wheat ending stocks and % ending stocks-to-use, and have caused U.S. and Kansas wheat cash prices to still be only $0.30 /bu above the marketing loan rate in many Kansas locations in mid-May 2017 (after earlier having to fallen below loan rates in Fall 2016).
USDA U.S. Wheat Supply/Demand Forecast for “Next Crop” MY 2017/18:
The USDA released their grain market supply-demand and price projections for “next crop” MY 2017/18 in the May 10th World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report. United States’ wheat plantings are projected to be 46.059 million acres (ma) – down from 50.154 ma in “current” MY 2016/17. Harvested acres are forecast to be 38.500 ma (83.59% harvested-to-planted) – down from 43.890 ma a year ago. The 2017 U.S. average wheat yield is projected at 47.2 bu/ac, down from the 2016 record of 52.6 bu/acre.
Wheat production in the U.S. in 2017 is forecast to be 1.820 billion bushels (bb), down from 2.310 bb in 2015. Projected “next crop” MY 2017/18 total supplies are 3.105 bb (down from 3.400 bb in “current” MY 2016/17), with total use of 2.191 bb (down from 2.241 bb in “current” MY 2016/17).
The USDA projected “next crop” MY 2017/18 ending stocks to be 914 million bushels (mb) (vs 1.159 bb a year ago), with percent ending stocks-to-use of 41.7% S/U (vs 51.7% last year and 50.0% the previous year). United States’ wheat prices are projected to average $4.25 /bu – up from $3.90 in “current” MY 2016/17, but down from $4.89 /bu in MY 2015/16, and $5.99 /bu in MY 2014/15. It is assumed by Kansas State University that these adjusted USDA projections for “next crop” MY 2016/17 have a 50% probability of occurring.
Three Alternative KSU U.S. Wheat S/D Forecast for “Next Crop” MY 2017/18:
As an alternative to the USDA’s projection, three potential KSU-Scenarios for U.S. wheat supply-demand and prices are presented for “next crop” MY 2017/18.
- KSU Scenario 1) “Trend Yield” Scenario (25% probability) assumes for “next crop” MY 2017/18 that the following occurs. It is assumed that there will be 46.059 ma planted, 82.50% harvested-to-planted, 37.999 ma harvested, 47.0 bu/ac trend yield, 1.786 bb production, 3.070 bb total supplies, 1.000 bb exports, 180 mb feed & residual use, 2.200 bb total use, 870 mb ending stocks, 39.6% S/U, & $4.45 /bu U.S. wheat average price.
- KSU Scenario 2) “Higher U.S. Wheat Exports” Scenario (15% probability) assumes the following for “next crop” MY 2017/18. Planted acres of 46.059 ma are associated with 39.334 ma harvested (82.50% harvested-to-planted), 47.0 bu/ac trend yield, 1.786 bb production, 3.070 bb total supplies, 1.150 bb exports, 180 mb feed & residual use, 2.350 bb total use, 720 mb ending stocks, 30.6% S/U, & $5.10 /bu U.S. wheat average price;
- KSU Scenario 3) “Short U.S. Wheat Crop” Scenario (10% probability) assumes the following for “next crop” MY 2017/18. Planted acres of 46.059 ma, 80.60% harvested-to-planted, 37.124 ma harvested, 40.0 bu/ac low yield, 1.485 bb production, 2.769 bb total supplies, 950 mb exports, 125 mb feed & residual use, 2.095 bb total use, 674 mb ending stocks, 32.17% S/U, & $5.00 /bu U.S. wheat average price.