Australian wheat exports will rise this season after all,
thanks to a record pace of shipments from Western Australia, helped by a strong
harvest and infrastructure improvements.
Australia & New Zealand Bank raised by 400,000 tonnes to
19.0m tonnes its forecast for Australia's wheat exports in 2013-14, on an
October-to-September basis, the local marketing year.
The upgrade, which lifted hopes for this season above the shipments
of 18.64m tonnes that the country achieved in 2012-13, reflected an acceleration
in shipments from Western Australia, the country's top grain-growing state to a
record 1.17m tonnes in March.
"This strong export performance should continue," ANZ
analyst Paul Deane said, forecasting that Western Australian shipments will hit
an all-time high of 9.3m tonnes for the full season, nearly half the figure for
the whole country.
The Western Australian export performance "co-incides with a
record available crop", and Aus$175m investment in rail stock by CBH, the
co-operative which handles the great majority of the state's grains, Mr Deane
Western Australia wheat production rebounded 58% last year
to 10.5m tonnes, according to Abares, the country's official commodities
And farmers have been encouraged to sell by higher prices, with
futures in Western Australia wheat up 16% over the past three months.
The state's wheat exports over the last half of the season
will, at 5.2m tonnes, exceed those of the first half's 4.1m tonnes.
East vs west
However, shipments from eastern Australia will suffer a "sharp
decline" in the April-to-September period, with a relatively soft harvest, and
higher local demand, constraining volumes.
"We estimate that the east coast had little more than 5m
tonnes of wheat available to export at the start of the season," Mr Deane said.
"With 3.3m tonnes already shipped in the first half, wheat
exports are likely to be quickly exhausted in the second half."