American farmers are back in the wheat game with Egypt, the world’s biggest buyer, as exporters send their first shipment in almost four months.
The U.S. inspected 51,603 tons of wheat for export to Egypt in the week ended May 4, U.S. Department of Agriculture data showed on Monday. The last shipment to the country was in mid-January.
The cargo is an indication of the competitiveness of U.S. wheat and also comes amid some crop production concerns in North America and other growing regions, said Don Roose, president of U.S. Commodities Inc. in West Des Moines, Iowa. Parts of Kansas, the largest U.S. winter-wheat grower, faced damage to crops from heavy snow and high wind at the end of April. World wheat reserves remain ample and are forecast to rise to a record high before the Northern Hemisphere harvests.
Egypt “probably bought that last week when we had the freeze and the weather concerns,” Roose said. “There may be some issues bubbling up with other suppliers — Europe’s a little dry, Russia’s a little bit dry.”
Egypt hasn’t been a major purchaser of U.S. wheat in recent years, as supplies from countries including Russia, Ukraine and Romania proved more attractive. Since June 1, the U.S. has exported 60,270 tons to Egypt through April 27. That’s down from 74,798 in the same period in 2016, USDA data show.
July wheat futures were little changed at $4.3325 a bushel as of 4:54 a.m. in Chicago. Prices fell 2 percent on Monday.