Russia set to become world’s biggest wheat exporter

Stavropol,  Southern Russia. © Danil Semyonov
Wheat exports from Russia are expected to outpace the European Union this year, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), which projects that Russia will become the world's top exporter for the first time.

Russia’s exports are expected to grow by 4.5 million tons for 2016/17 to a record 30 million tons thanks to a sharp production increase, the report says.

The wheat crop rose by 7 million tons to a record 72 million amid excellent growing conditions across the country as well as harvest reports showing very high yields.

READ MORE: Russia dominates global wheat market

According to USDA statistics, EU exports this year will decrease by 7 million tons to 27 million from July through August due to a significant drop in French crops following a season of excessive rain.

US wheat exports are expected to rise by 700,000 tons to 25.5 million tons on projections of improved competitive conditions due to a sharp reduction in the EU which will benefit suppliers from North America, the report said.

Ukraine has also enjoyed good harvest reports and favorable weather, boosting the projected exports by 2 million tons. Australia, Canada, and Kazakhstan are each expected to increase exports by 1 million tons, all due to increased production.

However, all the calculations were based on ‘ideal’ conditions, such as good weather for wheat loading and steady supplies, according to USDA.

The report added that global demand is outpacing supply.

“Global use is up 3.2 million tons led by a million-ton increase in Russia feed use, an 800,000-ton increase in the US, and a 400,000-ton increase in Afghanistan,” the USDA reported.