Total wheat flour trade reached 17.1 million tonnes in 2017-18, the IGC said in its May Grain Market Report, despite several adjustments made to the numbers.
It was only slightly behind the revised total for 2016-17, which reached a record 17.4 million tonnes.
Because of conflict in the region, shipments to Iraq have grown significantly, the IGC said. In 2015-16, the nation imported 1.91 million tonnes but jumped to 2.8 million tonnes in 2017-18.
“Although volumes remained high, the proportion of flour in all-wheat imports receded in the past year,” the IGC said. “A modest drop in Iraq’s flour imports is projected in 2018-19.”
The IGC projected 2.7 million tonnes in imports to Iraq in 2018-19.
Imports also have risen robustly in sub-Saharan Africa, but there appears to have been some slowdown in 2017-18, likely because of higher import costs.
“Nevertheless, some growth in shipments to the region is predicted in 2018-19 due to the ongoing rise in the popularity of wheat-based foods,” the IGC said.
Total imports to the region for 2018-19 are estimated at 3.04 million tonnes, up from a projected 2.94 million tonnes in 2017-18.
Within the region, Angola’s imports are expected to increase 30,000 tonnes to 830,000; Chad’s are estimated up 5,000 tonnes to 50,000; Somalia is projected up 20,000 tonnes to 340,000 tonnes; and Sudan is also estimated to increase 20,000 tonnes to 620,000.
North Korea saw a 100,000-tonne increase from the IGC’s February to May report, reaching a new estimated total of 210,000 tonnes.
Other significant adjustments made in the 2017-18 numbers overall included: Tajikistan, down 30,000 tonnes to 70,000; Uzbekistan, down 50,000 tonnes to 850,000; Syria down 50,000 tonnes to 500,000; and Sudan, down 100,000 tonnes to 600,000.
Several changes from the previous IGC report were also made in exports.
Significant increases were seen in China, which was up 150,000 tonnes to a total of 350,000 tonnes; and Iran, which was up 130,000 tonnes to 530,000 tonnes.
Other increases included Russia, up 50,000 tonnes to 330,000; and Ukraine, up 40,000 tonnes to 640,000 tonnes.
Decreases were registered in Turkey, down 200,000 tonnes to 5.1 million; the E.U.-28, which was down 100,000 tonnes to 900,000; the U.S., down 50,000 tonnes to 400,000; Argentina, down 90,000 tonnes to 1.05 million.