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WMR-Top Hard Red Spring Markets

By: Jim Peterson
Posted: Jun 19 2023

Overall exports of U.S. Hard Red Spring were up from the 2021 marketing year, and it was the largest export wheat class from the U.S. in 2022. The top ten export destinations for HRS included many traditional markets, but also a couple new ones.  The Philippines again dominated demand, accounting for slightly more than 20% of total U.S. HRS exports at 43 million bushels, but their purchases were down by nearly 20% from the 2021 marketing year, and also well below their record year of 68 mb in 2020.  Strong price competition in the region, and also some shift in local diets back to rice due to lower prices contributed to the lower U.S. sales.  Mexico moved into second place, accounting for about 12% of total HRS exports, reaching a historical high of 24 mb, and up nearly 40% from the previous year.  Mills in Mexico used HRS to replace higher priced and tighter supplies of HRW, and also like the higher protein levels and functional qualities of HRS.  

Japan, typically our number two market, fell to third, at just 22 mb, the lowest in a number of years and down nearly 8 mb from the previous year.  Lower Canadian prices for much of the year shifted part of the demand, but just 4 million bushels.  An aging population, as well as some declines in consumption due to economic pressures also contributed to weaker overall wheat demand.   Taiwan and Korea round out the top five markets, as usual, and held impressively close to their 2021 volumes, as end-users simply prefer the functional quality offered by U.S. HRS wheat.

The balance of the top ten markets included two new countries, Vietnam and Iraq.  Demand was spurred by a growing middle class in Vietnam, and a demand for higher quality bread products, and in Iraq an opportunistic price relationship between HRW and HRS at the time of purchase.  Thailand, Italy and Nigeria are traditional top ten customers, and last year sales to Thailand and Italy grew by 10 to 20% from the previous year, while Nigeria fell by 10 percent.

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