WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Argentina’s wheat exports for market year 2019-20 are forecast at a record high of 14.5 million tonnes, including flour exports in wheat equivalent, according to an April 25 Global Agricultural Information Network report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The USDA said Brazil is forecast to be the primary destination for Argentine wheat and sources indicate Brazil will import between 6 million tonnes and 7 million tonnes in market year 2019-20.

“In March 2019, Brazil announced an intention to open a 750,000 tonnes of duty-free wheat import quota from non-Mercosur countries,” the USDA said. “The common market’s external import duty for wheat is 10%, while trade among members is duty free.”

The USDA said following the announcement Argentine FOB prices dropped roughly $5 per tonne, and noted local traders will have to be more competitive, despite having advantages in freight cost and logistics, as most imported wheat in Brazil goes to mills in the southern part of the country.

Argentina’s wheat exports for market year 2018-19 are expected to reach 13 million tonnes, 700,000 tonnes lower than the USDA’s official volume.

“Exports from December 2018-February 2019 were significant in volume but brokers said that as Argentine wheat got ‘too expensive too quickly’ shipments in March and April slowed significantly,” the USDA said. “Shipments are expected to continue at a slow pace over the next few months … by April 2019, exporters had purchased 11 million tonnes of the market year 2018-19 wheat crop and will have exported in December 2018-April 2019 an estimated 8.2 million tonnes.”