LONDON, ENGLAND — World wheat flour trade is predicted to reach a new record high of 17.1 million tonnes (grain equivalent) in 2017-18, even with several offsetting adjustments reported by the International Grains Council (IGC) in February.

That total would be a 2% increase year-over-year from the 16.8-million-tonne revised figure for 2016-17. It is also up 100,000 tonnes from the IGC’s November forecast.

Total wheat flour trade was 16.612 million tonnes in 2015-16 and 14.206 million tonnes in 2014-15.

The most significant change in the IGC’s February report was for Iraq, where imports were increased 200,000 tonnes to 2.8 million tonnes. The local harvest was the smallest in four years, the IGC said.

“Because of disruptions to the local milling industry caused by conflict, Iraq’s imports have included a much higher proportion of flour in recent years,” the IGC said.

Imports to North Korea also were up, 35,000 tonnes to 110,000 tonnes. This is also up significantly from the 65,000 tonnes imported in 2016-17.

Import decreases were noted in the Philippines, which was down 50,000 tonnes to 200,000 tonnes; Hong Kong, down 30,000 tonnes to 320,000 tonnes; Tajikistan, down 20,000 tonnes to 100,000 tonnes; Indonesia, down 15,000 tonnes to 85,000 tonnes; and Libya, down 10,000 tonnes to 80,000 tonnes.

Few changes were noted in exports, where Turkey still leads the way, despite a 150,000-tonne-decrease to 5.3 million tonnes.

Turkey has shipped about 21% more flour to Iraq so far this season, the IGC said, but its exports to other destinations are lagging. This is particularly true of Far East Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

Other export decreases were noted in the United Arab Emirates, which was down 150,000 tonnes to 350,000 tonnes and Russia, which was down 70,000 tonnes to 280,000 tonnes.

Exports were up 50,000 tonnes in the E.U.-28 to 1 million tonnes and China was also up 50,000 tonnes to 200,000 tonnes.

Iran’s exports were estimated up 125,000 tonnes to 400,000 tonnes. This is an increase from last year’s 310,000 tonnes but still down from the 830,000 tonnes exported in 2014-15.