LONDON, ENGLAND — Due to smaller-than-anticipated import needs in Near East Asia because of better-than-expected local harvests, the International Grains Council (IGC) is forecasting a reduction in global wheat flour trade in 2019-20 of 500,000 tonnes from its June estimate.
In its most recent Grain Market Report, released on Sept. 26, the IGC revised flour trade downward to 15,900,00 tonnes (wheat equivalent), still 200,000 tonnes higher than last year’s total but far below the record total of 17,699,000 tonnes in 2016-17.
The IGC also projected flour import decreases in Iraq and Syria, with imports now forecast at 2 million tonnes (down 500,000 tonnes) and 400,000 tonnes (down 100,000 tonnes), respectively.
“For both, flour is still expected to account for a large share of all-wheat imports owning to local processing constraints,” the IGC said.
Afghanistan is projected to be the top importer of wheat flour in 2019-20 at 2,500,000 tonnes, followed by Iraq with 2,000,000 tonnes.
Uzebekistan is ranked third at 900,000 tonnes, followed by Yemen at 800,000 tonnes, and Angola at 650,000 tonnes
The top exporter is once again projected to be Turkey at 5,050,000 tonnes. Although that number is broadly unchanged from the June report, the IGC said Iraq and Syria are significant markets for Turkish flour, so the flat projection assumes exports will be redirected to other countries.
“With Turkey potentially making inroads into other destinations, export numbers are trimmed from last time for the E.U., Canada and Argentina,” the IGC said.
Kazakhstan is projected to be the No. 2 exporter in 2019-20, although the IGC has revised downward its export total to 2,500,000 from 3,000,0000.
“For exporters, the largest change from the last report is for Kazkhstan, lowered by 500,000 tonnes because of a reduced outlook for domestic supply,” the IGC said.
Ranked behind Turkey and Kazakhstan on the import side are Argentina at 875,000 tonnes (down 75,000 tonnes from the June report), Pakistan at 750,000 tonnes (unchanged) and the European Union at 650,000 tonnes (down 100,000 tonnes).