Spotlight on domestic wheat market - South Africa

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The rainfall in the province did not only improve crop conditions, but it also boosted dam levels as well. The most recent data from the Department of Water and Sanitation shows that the Western Cape provincial dam levels averaged 66 percent in the week of 01 October 2018, up by a percentage point from the previous week and 30 percentage points from the corresponding period last year.

The crop growing conditions are also favourable in provinces such as the Northern Cape, Free State, Eastern Cape and Limpopo, amongst others, albeit at relatively early stages of development compared to the Western Cape due to a difference in planting periods. The crop in these particular provinces is supported by recent showers and improved water levels in the dams for irrigation following good summer rainfall.

 Also worth noting is that the week of 18 October 2018 promises rainfall in most regions of the aforementioned provinces, which could further improve soil moisture and subsequently benefit the crop conditions. This is all supportive of the Crop Estimate Committee’s view of a potential 18 percent annual increase in South Africa’s wheat production to 1.85 million tonnes.

 To reiterate a point made in our previous notes, the potential uptick in domestic wheat production could lead to a 33 percent decline in imports to 1.4 million tonnes of wheat in the 2018/19 marketing year which commenced this week. This is good for the country’s agricultural trade balance. AGBIZ