Russian wheat displaces European wheat in the markets of Africa and the Middle East

Source:  GrainTrade

In 2023/24 MY, wheat supplies from the EU to North Africa decreased by 25%, and to the Middle East – by 60%, while Russia is increasing its grain exports to these regions. This is stated in the FAS USDA report “Grains: World Markets and Trade”, published in April.

European wheat is losing its traditional markets in North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East due to very strong competition from Russian wheat, which is why the export forecast for the EU this season was reduced by 2 million tons to 34.5 million tons, and for Russia increased by 1 million tons to 52 million tons.

Record wheat harvests in Russia improve its competitiveness in African and Middle Eastern markets. Previously, almost 95% of the volume of wheat imported to Saudi Arabia was European grain, but in 2023/24 MY the country started to actively buy Russian wheat due to its low price.

The situation is similar in Algeria, where 5 years ago 85% of the market was occupied by durum wheat from Canada and milling wheat from the EU, in particular France, Germany and the Baltic countries. However, the government of the country has reduced phytosanitary requirements for the content of pests (boll weevil) in order to diversify grain suppliers, and since 2020, wheat from Russia has been supplied to the country’s market. Rusagrotrans estimates that in 2023/24 MY Russia may export about 3 million tons of wheat to Algeria.

According to the forecast of the Chairman of the Board of the Union of Grain Exporters E. Zernin, by the end of 2023/24 MY, Russia’s share in the global grain market will exceed 25%. At the same time, the dependence on the three largest buyers (Turkey, Egypt and Iran) will decrease, as supplies to new markets will increase.

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