U.S. May Have `Problem’ Meeting Surging Global Demand for Wheat, UN Says

Luzi Ann Javier

The U.S., the world’s largest wheat shipper, may not have the logistical capacity to meet rising global demand after rains cut the quality of the harvest in Canada and Australia, the United Nations said.

As much as 8 million metric tons of Australia’s wheat harvest may be downgraded because of excessive rains and Canada’s output suffered from wet weather, pushing importers to seek alternative suppliers, said Abdolreza Abbassian, an economist at the UN Food & Agriculture Organization, citing government estimates.

“Right now, the only country that would have such supply to compensate for the downgrade of Australia and also Canada would be the U.S.,” Abbassian said in an interview. “The problem is that the capacity in the U.S. for terminals to absorb enough milling wheat for shipment, it’s just not there.”

Increased demand from the U.S. may lead to supply bottlenecks, delaying deliveries and intensifying competition among importers, said Park Yang Jin, business manager at Seoul- based Daehan Flour Mills Co., South Korea’s largest milling wheat importer. This would help sustain a rally in Chicago futures, he said. The U.S. accounts for 27 percent of global wheat trade.

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