AS AN agriculture analyst, China is one of the black holes in information.
There have always been issues getting independent information from the middle kingdom.
There were issues a couple of years ago when analysts started going 'missing'.
It's not uncommon for China to have record crop after record crop.
It generally seems able to pull a rabbit out of the hat and produce a big crop, regardless of the climatic conditions.
News was reported in the Chinese press during the past week that heavy rainfall impacted the largest wheat-producing province (Henan).
There are estimates that up to 20 million tonnes of wheat could be unharvestable.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), China was on track to produce 140 million tonnes of wheat this year (refer to teal bar in Chart 1), but a drop to 120 million tonnes would make the crop the lowest since 2011.
In recent years, China has been importing much higher volumes of wheat than in the past.
In the past year, it imported 9.96 million tonnes, and so far it has imported 6 million tonnes in 2023 (refer Chart 2).
This time last year, it had only imported 3.7 million tonnes.
So, already it has a big import program on.
And, if its crop is in a sorry state, we could see import volume increase higher.
We have to be very careful before buying a new LandCruiser off the back of this information.
We know that Chinese details are hard to verify - let's just see how this one pans out.
At least for now, the market has not really reacted to this news/rumour.
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