A University of Illinois Farmdoc report says China is set to import “record volumes” of wheat this year. Industry sources say rain damage to China’s wheat crop and subsequent worries over dry weather in exporting nations are driving Beijing’s appetite to buy while prices are low.
Traders also say China’s frantic wheat buying is likely to support global prices, which have dropped more than a quarter through this year due to abundant supplies from Russia, the world’s top exporter. Overall, China’s 2023 imports are likely to reach 12 million tons, topping the previous year’s record of 9.96 million tons, with the avid buying expected to continue into 2024. Industry traders also say Beijing’s recent large purchases of Australian wheat could force rival importers such as Indonesia and Japan to seek alternatives from North America and the Black Sea region.
China was the fifth-largest importer of U.S. wheat in Marketing Year 2022-2023.