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Iran Forecast To Become World's Lgst Wheat Importer

02/14/2000 Dow Jones Commodities Service

WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- For the second time in just four years, Iran is forecast to become the world's largest wheat buyer, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in its Grain: World Markets and Trade report Monday.

The USDA has estimated Iran will import 7 million metric tons of wheat in 1999-00, which ends May 31.

The massive imports are expected because of the country's drought-reduced crop last year, the USDA said.

"Furthermore, continued dry conditions have already raised the possibility of another short crop and that would imply the need for continued strong buying over the next 6 to 12 months," the USDA said.

So far, Canada and the European Union have benefited the most from Iran 's larger import demand.

Kazakstan, the closest supplier to Iran geographically, has been unable to boost its market share due to infrastructure limitations, the USDA said. So far, no U.S. wheat has been purchased, despite last summer's easing of economic sanctions, the USDA said. -

By Kim Archer; Dow Jones Newswires; 1-202-479-0853;


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