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Australian wheat outlook boosted as rains forecast for east coast




  • Farmers across the east coast of Australia will receive much-needed rains next week, the weather bureau forecast on Thursday, easing concerns about tight wheat supplies from the world’s second-largest exporter of the grain. Planting across the New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia states has been slowed by dry weather, threatening production of the country’s higher quality wheat, at a time when the outlook for the global wheat crop is uncertain. 

    Much of the three states will receive between 10 and 20 millimetres of rain on May 13, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology forecast on its website, offering relief to drought-stricken fields. Analysts had warned that continued delays to wheat planting beyond mid-May would likely result in downgrades to production estimates. 

    “If farmers were forced to plant in late May, while that wouldn’t be the first time that has happened, you would look at having to bring down yield estimates to average or below average,” said Paul Deane, senior agricultural economist at ANZ Bank. Weather models are also hinting at potential further rains later next week, analysts told Reuters, though the weather bureau has yet to publish forecasts out that far. Timely rains this week boosted the outlook for Western Australia, the largest wheat producing state in the country, with 2013/14 production forecast to rise 16 percent from the previous marketing year. 

    Chicago Board of Trade wheat July futures, the most actively traded contract, fell on Thursday, shrugging off the recent weather damage to the US winter wheat crop, while crops in the Black sea region also remain threatened by dry weather. Poor growing weather should result in a 9 percent drop in US 2013 winter wheat production from the previous year’s crop, in spite of a 2 percent rise in planted acreage, analysts said ahead of a US government report. 

    Copyright Reuters, 2013

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