ENGLAND — The International Grains Council’s (IGC) forecast has forecasted a drop in global flour trade 2022 following decreased outlooks in the world’s top wheat importers.

According to the IGC, the forecast for global wheat flour trade in 2021-22 has been reduced by 900,000 tons (wheat equivalent), to 13.9 million tons, a decline of 6%.

The trade report published in April showed that the figure for the current year, ending June 30, was slightly higher than last year’s 13.7 million tons traded, but was still short almost 4 million tons of the record set in 2016-17.

The IGC attributed the decline to decreased outlooks in Iraq and Afghanistan which have traditionally been the world’s top wheat importers.

Iraq’s imports are forecast to fall 500,000 tons from the previous quarter and Afghanistan’s imports are expected to decline by 300,000 tons.

Regardless, the IGC forecast a yearly uptick in Iraq’s wheat imports to 2.2 million tons “following a disappointing domestic wheat harvest”.

Afghanistan’s flour imports have seen a steady yearly reduction, dropping by 800,000 tonnes from 2.5 million tons to 1.7 million.

The decline in imports is majorly linked to a Kazakhstan’s 22% reduction of exports to Afghanistan.

Kazakhstan has imposed temporary quotas on wheat and flour exports, heightening regional concerns about food supplies since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war in February.

Alongside Kazakhstan, major exporters Turkey, Ukraine and Egypt also reported reduction in exports form the last forecast by 600,000 tons, 300,000 tons and 200,000 tons respectively.

Smaller importers of flour too, such as, China, Syria and Yemen as well as parts of sub-Saharan Africa have seen a downward revision of imports.

India, which has hitherto been a small exporter is now setting its sights on markets across Africa and Asia aiming to supply three million tons of wheat to Egypt (the world’s largest importer) this year, say Indian officials.

According to the IGC India’s 400,000 tons of wheat flour exported between July and January already exceed its sales volumes in the period 2020-21.

“Their exports to Indonesia, the UAE, Sri Lanka, and parts of sub-Saharan Africa are also poised to increase on a yearly basis”, the IGC said

The IGC’s 2022-23 initial outlook predicts a 6% increase in global flour trade including increased imports from Iraq.

Afghanistan’s imports are also predicted to increase if its central source, Kazakhstan resumes its supply. The outlook also foresees Turkey retaining its place as the largest global exporter.

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