U.S. flour exports near lowest level in recent years

by World Grain Staff
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WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Exports of wheat flour from the U.S. in 2014 totaled 5,372,000 cwts, up 100,000 from the prior year, according to data provided by the Census Bureau. This minimal increase left flour exports near the lowest level of recent years. Except for 2013, last year’s shipments to foreign destinations were the smallest since 2008 when the outgo was slightly less than 5 million cwts, at 4,918,000.

The low point of flour exports in the current century occurred in 2006, with a total outflow of 3,418,000 cwts. The peak was 10,462,000 in 2001, while the recent high mark occurred in 1999, at 17,752,000 cwts.

A dramatic reduction in export flour shipments for foreign aid financed by U.S. government programs accounted for the drop in the export total. At the same time, the current volume was unique for its North American focus. The latter meant that, as has been the case in recent years, shipments to Mexico and Canada accounted for the bulk of U.S. flour exports. Their share of the total in 2014 was a hefty 81%, up from 70% the year before.

Mexico was the top foreign destination for U.S. flour exports in 2014, taking a total of 2,525,000 cwts, against 1,720,000 in 2013. Canada ranked second as an export outlet in 2014, replaced by Mexico as the leader for the first time. Shipments to Canada last year totaled 1,800,000 cwts, against 1,972,000 in 2013. Mexico’s share in 2014 was 47%, compared with 33% in 2013, compared with Canada’s 34%, against and 37% in 2013.

Kenya, a destination for 492,000 cwts in 2014, and Korea Republic, at 100,000, were the only other markets of that size.

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