Iran won't import wheat this year

by World Grain Staff
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TEHRAN, IRAN — Iran won’t be importing wheat for the first time on record with farmers and inventories providing enough supplies to meet domestic demand, Bloomberg reported on Aug. 30.

Guaranteed wheat purchases from farmers will exceed 8 million tonnes, Ali Ghanbari, managing director of the government Trading Corp., responsible for imports, said on the government website on Aug. 30. The nation’s inventories are adequate to meet domestic demand for six months, he said.

“Given the increase in guaranteed wheat purchases from wheat farmers so far this year, there will be no need for importing this strategic product from abroad this year,” Ghanbari said. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has Iran importing wheat every year since at least 1960.

The lack of Iranian imports is another blow to the wheat market where prices in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., have tumbled 18% this year. In the year ending May 31, 2016, world stockpiles will be at a record high, the USDA forecasts.

Iran needed as much as 6.8 million tonnes of wheat from overseas in 2008-09, when the domestic harvest slumped about 50%, according to USDA data. The USDA is still forecasting imports for the current year at 3 million tonnes, less than half of last season’s 6.3 million tonnes.

“To date, 7.8 million tonnes of wheat has been purchased from farmers and based on projections made, the volume of guaranteed wheat purchases to the end of the farming season will surpass 8 million tonnes,” Ghanbari said. “At this volume of purchase, the country’s bakery sector for wheat will be met.” The domestic harvest usually ends in October, and the imports are for the year ending March 21, 2016.

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