MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA — AWB’s forecast pool returns for most grades of 2010-11 season wheat are holding steady this week, although noodle wheat in the western pool is up A$25-$45 a tonne, as demand for this grain and shortage of supply continues to drive prices, the AWB said on Nov. 8.

AWB’s estimated pool return (EPR) for ANW1 noodle wheat is up A$25 to A$445 a tonne, while benchmark grade APW wheat in the Western Pool is steady on A$340 a tonne and APW wheat in the Eastern Pool is steady on A$324 a tonne (FOB, excl GST).

AWB’s General Manager Commodities Mitch Morison said the leap in the Australian dollar over the past week had been most unfortunate from an export perspective, as it had masked an improvement in international wheat prices.

“The wheat market is firming with commodities generally and there is sufficient nervousness about the overall wheat supply into 2011 to support the higher prices we are seeing,” Morison said. “The Australian currency has been volatile in recent weeks, but the lift of two to three US cents over the past week is not what growers of export grain wanted to see and it has certainly put a cap on Australian prices.

“Obviously our currency hedging program has been working to manage both the volatility of the dollar and to achieve a better effective rate, which is one of the benefits growers gain through utilizing our pools.

“There is one grain where the price rises have been so great as to outstrip any currency effect and that is for noodle wheat in Western Australia, which is moving up independently to milling wheat.

“Our EPRs for noodle wheat are up A$25-$45 a tonne this week depending on grade, giving a total rise in the last month of A$80 a tonne for the highest grade ANW1.

“It’s a clear case of small supply and high demand, with customers anxious to secure shipments of noodle wheat and seeing the effect of the WA drought on production estimates.”