Record high wheat imports seen this year
The USDA hiked this year’s projection from the earlier forecast of 7.2 million MT last month.

Record high wheat imports seen this year

Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - August 18, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines expects wheat imports to hit a record high of 7.4 million metric tons this year  amid increasing consumption.

Based on the latest report of the United States Department of Agriculture-Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA-FAS), this year’s forecast  is 23.7 percent higher than  2018’s 5.98 million MT.

The USDA hiked this year’s projection from the earlier forecast of 7.2 million MT last month.

“There are expectations of stronger demand on feed and food use in the Philippines,” USDA said.

“Global trade is raised marginally, highlighted by stronger import demand for the Philippines and Turkey,” it said.

Latest import data showed wheat imports climbed 14 percent to 829,716 million.

Wheat imports for the Philippines have more than doubled over the last decade, largely due to reduced supplies of other grains as typhoons cut domestic corn and rice production.

In fact, Southeast Asia is seen as the top wheat importing region for the first time amid a strong demand for the commodity in the Philippines and Indonesia.

The ASEAN will lead global wheat importation this year and next year as demand in the region continues to trend higher based on longer-term shifts in consumption from rice to wheat as diets diversify.

Meanwhile, global production is expected to decline this month mainly on smaller crops in the European Union, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkey.

Higher exports for Argentina, Ukraine, and the US offset reductions for the European Union, Kazakhstan and Russia. The US season-average farm price is down $0.20 per bushel to $5.

There is no commercial wheat production in the Philippines and wheat is the main raw material for flour and feeds.

Bakery products comprise roughly 50 percent of overall milling wheat consumption while the other half of milling wheat demand is for producing noodles, cookies and crackers and pasta.

The Philippines sources 95 percent of its wheat requirements from the US.

There are 20 flour mills in the country with an aggregate milling capacity of over five million MT.               

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