PARIS, FRANCE — Algeria has halted imports of French wheat, leaving France with a large surplus and challenges to its dominance in its top export market, Reuters reported.
Algeria has excluded French offers from the past three milling wheat import tenders, traders said. In October, French President Emmanuel Macron questioned whether there had been an Algerian nation before French colonial rule. Algeria later responded by closing airspace to France’s military and recalled its ambassador from Paris, Reuters reported.
Algeria is one of the largest milling wheat importers, bringing in about 6 million tonnes per year in recent years. It often has represented about 40% to 50% of French wheat exports outside of the EU.
Large sales to China and current shipments to Morocco have partially offset the shortfall in Algeria, Reuters reported.
Traders also see the possibility for more sales to Egypt, which booked a first cargo of French wheat this season in late December.
There is hope of resumed exports to Algeria as diplomatic tensions ease. But traders said France will stay face an ongoing challenge in its traditional export areas.
“Algeria will revert to buying French wheat (once the political row subsides) but it will have to match international prices,” a French trader told Reuters.