INDONESIA – Indonesia is on the verge of becoming the world’s largest wheat importer after a further order from Black sea threatening to overtake Egypt’s first position.

Need to be a corn-sufficient country has sparked expansion into the Asian market despite the fact that the country has in the past sourced most of its wheat from Australia.

Reuters had earlier reported that a flour miller in Indonesia had bought 50,000 tonnes of 11.5% protein Black Sea wheat in March while USDA forecast shown that the country’s imports at 12.5 million tonnes in the 2017/2018, thus overtaking the 12 million tonnes likely to be purchased by Egypt.

“Projected imports are increased for Indonesia and several African countries while reduced for India, the EU, Iran, Brazil, and Mexico.

Indonesia’s imports are raised 1.0 million tons to 12.5 million on increases for both food and feed use.

Indonesia is now the leading global wheat importer, surpassing Egypt, the traditional leader,” said USDA.

The move is likely to surpass Egypt in wheat, flour and wheat products imports as Indonesia shifts a focus on economic growth and increased wheat feeding.

Growth in imports could be attributed to increasing demand for food and feed as well as increasing population and income.

USDA projected that Indonesians were transitioning from traditional meals to Western diets such as pastries, instant noodles, and poultry, something that has called for an expansion in the food industry especially the corn one.

The feed sector is also experiencing a tremendous growth despite restrictions and regulations concerning feed imports.

Millers have resolved to use lower-priced milling wheat which is still an affordable ingredient to process into feed rations as a cope up strategy to the restrictions.

A shift to place an order for Black Sea’s wheat puts not only Australia but also US’s export market in jeopardy, which have enjoyed good wheat sales to major importers including Indonesia and Canada.

Australia will also face major competition as a wheat supplier in the country following the entry of Russia which has positioned itself at the third position followed by Canada and the US.

US exports wheat exports which find their way in Mexico, Japan, Philippines, Brazil, Taiwan have posted a weak stand allegedly due to domestic price rises in January caused by drought conditions in hard red winter wheat areas.

Black sea wheat, origins of Romania and Ukraine has also sold 60,000 tonnes to French and this is expected to position it strongly on the world wheat trade.