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China wants Australian wheat, prices up 50%

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Staff writer |
Australian wheatChina has rushed into the Australian wheat market in the past month and a half, buying 1.5 million tonnes of grain.


Grain traders are hoping that China may buy a record three to four million tonnes of new-season wheat from Australia, writes the Australian. The move follows extensive damage caused by frost and rain to China's summer grain harvest, which made at least 20 million tonnes, or 16 percent, of the nation's wheat crop not healthy for human consumption.

The US Department of Agriculture two weeks ago raised its forecast for China's total grain imports from 3.2 million tonnes last year to 8.5 million tonnes in 2013-2014. The sudden interest from China in an Australian wheat crop that will start to be harvested in November has lifted prices in forward selling contracts by $10 to $15 a tonne.

This time last year, China had bought just 500,000 tonnes of Australia's still-growing winter crops of wheat, oats and barley, with total annual purchases typically less than one million tonnes. Overseas traders and analysts now estimate China's total wheat imports this year could rise above 10 million tonnes.

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