The European Commission cut its forecast for the 2022/23 European Union wheat harvest, but maintained its projection for record EU exports as war disrupts supply from Ukraine.
In monthly cereal supply and demand estimates, the Commission cut its outlook for usable production of common wheat, or soft wheat, in the July 2022 to June 2023 season to 130.1 million tonnes from 131.3 million tonnes previously.
The new harvest forecast, which the Commission attributed to revisions for France and Sweden, was almost level with 2021/22 production of 130.0 million tonnes.
Russia's two-month old invasion of Ukraine has stalled massive Ukrainian crop exports, leading to record European wheat and oilseed prices. GRA/EU
EU Soft Wheat
The Commission kept its forecast for EU soft wheat exports in 2022/23 at 40 million tonnes, which would be an all-time high for the bloc.
After an upward revision to expected supply this season, it increased its projection of EU soft wheat stocks by the end of 2022/23 to 12.6 million tonnes from 12.2 million a month ago.
For 2021/22, soft wheat ending stocks were raised to 14.8 million tonnes from 13.2 million previously, as forecast exports were cut by 1 million tonnes to 32 million and expected imports increased by 0.5 million tonnes to 2.5 million.
Projected 2022/23 EU barley production was trimmed to 53.5 million tonnes from 53.6 million, while expected maize output was cut to 73.4 million tonnes from 74 million.
Also reflecting reduced supply from Ukraine, the Commission maintained its expectation for a sharp drop in maize imports to 9 million tonnes from 14 million in 2021/22.
In oilseeds, the EU's executive raised its forecast for the 2022/23 rapeseed harvest to 18.3 million tonnes from 18.1 million previously.
For EU sunflower oil imports, most of which usually come from Ukraine, the Commission increased its estimate for 2021/22 to 1.9 million from 1.5 million tonnes, but trimmed its 2022/23 projection to 0.8 million from 0.9 million tonnes.
The EU executive made no changes to its 2021/22 and 2022/23 import forecasts for palm oil. Top exporter Indonesia has created uncertainty about availability of the vegetable oil by introducing an export embargo.