| CHICAGO, June 7
CHICAGO, June 7 Demand from overseas buyers
remained quiet in the U.S. white wheat market in the Pacific
Northwest this week, after the discovery of a genetically
modified (GMO) wheat strain in Oregon was reported May 29, grain
merchants said on Friday.
Japan, the U.S. largest white wheat customer, declined for
the second straight week to bid at its weekly white wheat tender
due to concerns about importing the unapproved type of wheat.
South Korea has formally suspended U.S. wheat purchases, while
the European Union said it would step up testing.
"Without them buying anything, the market's definitely a
little softer," one grain merchandiser said.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is still investigating
the origin of the GMO wheat. USDA Market News reported this week
that Pacific Northwest grain merchants pulled their bids for
soft white wheat to be delivered in June to Portland, Oregon, a
key export terminal in the Pacific Northwest, the largest U.S.
export gateway for wheat.
White wheat delivered in July was quoted nominally on Friday
at $7.34-1/4 to $7.40 range, down 30 cents in a week.
But grain merchants told Reuters that they were continuing
to bid for wheat for domestic millers or feed mixers.
"I wouldn't say the numbers are pulled. I would say the
numbers are thin," said Pearson Burke, grain merchandiser with
AgVentures NW in Odessa, Washington.
The wheat industry and U.S. government officials are
continuing to investigate the discovery of "volunteer" GMO-wheat
plants that survived herbicide applications, while some farmers
in the Pacific Northwest and Kansas filed lawsuits against
Monsanto Co, the biotech seed developer.
The surprise discovery in 2000 that a GMO corn strain
called Starlink unapproved for use in Japan had been found in a
U.S. corn cargo there roiled U.S. corn shipments for months,
costing millions in inspections, testings and cancellations.
Grains merchants said the white wheat market was quiet
before the GMO wheat was found as buyers and sellers are waiting
for new-crop supplies as harvest will start around July 1.
Underpinning the white wheat market remains a red hot corn
market, which is running about $1 a bushel higher than white
wheat in the Pacific Northwest, merchants said.
"I'm getting quite a few bids for supplying wheat into feed
channels out here," Burke added.