Strong rebound in flour exports

by Staff
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WASHINGTON — Exports of wheat flour from the United States in the first half of 2007 were the largest for the period in five years and exceeded the outgo in the same period of 2006 by 70.7%. The rebound in flour clearances for the first six months of this year affirmed the reversal from the previous prolonged downward trend in shipments of flour.

Wheat flour shipments, according to the Foreign Trade Division of the Bureau of the Census, in January-June 2007 totaled 3,341,000 cwts, contrasted with 1,957,000 in the same 2006 period. The outgo was the largest since 5,494,000 cwts were exported in the first half of 2002. The recent low in January-June shipments was 1,795,000 cwts in 2005, while the recent high was a decade earlier, in 1995, at 14,290,000 cwts.

Hardly anything emphasizes the current year’s flour export surge better than the fact that the six-month shipments of 3,341,000 cwts were within a hair’s breadth of the outgo in the entire 2006 calendar year, of 3,418,000 cwts. This was the smallest export flour outgo since the period prior to World War II, and was down a fraction from 3,606,000 cwts in 2005. The recent peak in U.S. flour exports was 17,752,000 cwts shipped in 1999.

As has been the case in recent years, America’s North American neighbors continued to provide the major outlet for flour exports in the first half of 2007. Exports to Canada were well in the lead among destinations, accounting for 944,000 cwts in January-June 2007. Mexico ranked second, at 597,000 cwts. The third-ranking destination was Somalia, at 400,000 cwts. Bolivia, the West Bank and Afghanistan each accounted for about 250,000 cwts of U.S. flour exports in the first half of 2007.

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