Sunday, July 22, 2007

Hard Red Spring Wheat Promoted at the South Asian Buyers Conference

Bali, Indonesia--Hard red spring (HRS) has bright future in South Asian region says North Dakota Wheat Commission (NDWC) Administrator Neal Fisher.
Fisher presented the HRS outlook at the conference.

The quality attributes of hard red spring wheat were showcased to more than 200 milling and wheat food processing executives, procurement managers, quality control specialists and technicians at the U.S. Wheat Associates South Asian Buyers Conference last week in Bali, Indonesia.

The sixth biennial conference gave buyers in the region an early look at the new U.S. crop, educates about the value and functional benefits of U.S. wheat and fosters stronger relationships with the U.S. industry.

"We've seen some very good gains for hard red spring wheat sales in all the countries represented in the South Asian region in recent years because of efforts like this," says Fisher.

Fisher has been a regular participant at the conference and again presented the supply and demand situation for hard red spring wheat and the outlook for the 2007 crop season.

"Combined purchases from the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia and Singapore recently completed 2006-07 marketing variety equaling nearly as much as our largest customer Japan, hitting 55 million bushels," Fisher says.

"The future is bright with growing interest in U.S. hard red spring as an improver wheat in the region," he says.
Hard red spring wheat is used extensively in South Asia for both bread and noodle products.

The South Asian market purchased roughly 22 percent of the total U.S. hard red spring wheat exports in the 2006-07 marketing year.
Rising quality standards and competition, combined with industry consolidation, have increased buyer demands for technical, quality and market information.

Freight Prices Don't Deter Buyers
Fisher says there was great interest in the upcoming HRS crop, despite the high export and freight prices facing buyers this year.

"Concerns about price seemed to be overshadowed by their demand for U.S. quality HRS," Fisher says.

"Most buyers seemed willing to assume the higher costs to get the functionality and performance they know they are getting from U.S. wheat, especially the hard red spring wheat that is their primary import class."

Fisher believes buyers are more concerned about the record ocean freight rates of $65-$75 per ton, double the rates of a few years ago.
The first two days of the conference, July 11-12, focused on technical milling and baking topics relevant to all six U.S. wheat classes, and information supporting wheat procurement was the focus of July 13-14.

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) works to enhance export market development for American wheat producers.
USW is supported by checkoff funds from 20 state wheat commissions including North Dakota.

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