Canada Markets

USDA Forecasts Global Wheat Stocks Down for a 4th Year

Cliff Jamieson
By  Cliff Jamieson , Canadian Grains Analyst
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The blue bars represent the USDA's forecast for global wheat stocks, measured against the primary vertical axis, forecast to fall for a fourth consecutive year. The yellow line with markers represents the global stocks/use ratio, while the black line with markers indicates the percentage of stocks forecast for the eight major exporters, measured against the secondary vertical axis. (DTN graphic by Cliff Jamieson)

The USDA is looking for a record wheat crop to be produced in 2023-24 of 789.8 million metric tons (mmt), up 1.5 mmt or 0.2% from the previous year. Early estimates include increased production in Argentina, Canada, European Union, China and India while smaller crops are expected for Russia, Australia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Canada's production is pegged at a near-record of 37 mmt. This would compare to the 37.6 mmt produced in 2013-14. At the same time, this seems like a tall order with 78% of the prairie agriculture land facing some degree of drought as of April 30.

Given assumptions for global use, global stocks are forecast to fall by 1.939 mmt year-over-year to 264.344 mmt in 2023-24, above the average of Dow Jones pre-report estimates of 260.6 mmt but still falling year-over-year for a fourth year. This is the lowest reported in eight years, while compares to the four-year average of 280.8 mmt.

Forecast stocks outside of China are reported at 124.66 mmt, also expected to fall for a fourth year while the smallest volume reported in 15 years.

Of greater importance is the stocks forecast for the eight major global exporters. This volume is calculated at 55.744 mmt, falling for the sixth year in the past seven years, with the four-year average at 61 mmt. As seen on the attached chart (black line), this represents 21.1% of global stocks. This percentage was calculated as high as 48% in the 2005-06 crop year.

Of the eight major exporters, five countries are expected to see stocks fall year-over-year, which includes Argentina, European Union, United States, Russia and Ukraine. Australia, Canada and Kazakhstan are expected to see stocks increase year-over-year.

It is interesting to note that the USDA revised higher its forecast for Canadian exports by 1 mmt, to 26 mmt, while trimming its forecast for Canada's 2022-23 carryout to 2.5 mmt. The USDA's first look at 2023-24 shows exports forecast even higher at 27.5 mmt, a record level, while Canada's stocks are forecast to grow by a modest 500,000 mt to 3.04 mmt, still historically tight.

The current USDA forecast for 2022-23 global ending stocks is only 740,000 metric tons below the May 2022 estimate. During the past five years, the average May estimate for global stocks is 4.3 mmt above the most recent estimates; the USDA overstated global stocks of wheat in its first May estimates in three of the past five years.

Cliff Jamieson can be reached at

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