While other bread wheat markets are experiencing a lot of volatility with price increases both up and down, durum is behaving in a totally different way.
“With durum, the market continues to defy the trends in the other markets and actually floats lower. We have seen as much as $ 1 or more appreciation in the bread wheat market over the same time frame, ”said Jim Peterson, marketing director at the North Dakota Wheat Commission, at the end of March. “Of course, it shows that the durum market is a little more isolated from some of the others, and probably just continued to sell at increased prices it reached earlier this fall and winter.”
The question is whether that trend will continue. Much of that will depend on the March 31 planting intent report.
“The perception of many in the industry at the moment is, even though the stock has been low over the past year, there will be a significant increase in durum plantings this year, which will help compensate for that,” he said.
Looking at current prices, many bids have dropped back to the $ 12.50 per bushel range at the local level. The National Durum index was up to $ 13.15 per bushel in early March, and now prices are down to around $ 12.70, reflecting those similar trends. In early January, Peterson noted that prices were close to $ 15.50, so it shows almost a $ 3 per bushel sale at that time.
One of the big challenges, according to Peterson, is that U.S. domestic demand has been significantly reduced due to supply chain issues, which are not necessarily all related to COVID, but are just trying to get packaging materials, ingredients and trucks and other factors that are most years taken for granted. In the past year or so, those issues have plagued the industry and driven production back and as a result, some demand has been lost.