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EU Wheat Exports Challenged by Russias Growing Dominance

11.04.2024 23:10 "Agro Perspectiva" (Kyiv) European Union (EU) wheat exports for 2023/24(Jul-Jun) are forecast down 2.0million tons this month to 34.5million as the region loses market share to Russia in Africa and the Middle East. Leading markets for EU wheat typically are North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Middle East. In the first 7months of the marketing year, shipments to North Africa are down 25percent compared to the same period last year, while shipments to the Middle East are down over 60percent. The EU is facing unprecedented competition from Russia wheat in these regions. Russias record wheat supplies continue to make its exports more competitive than the EU, with unabated shipments raising the Russia export forecast 1.0million tons this month to a record 52.0million tons. Saudi Arabia and Algeria are two of the top three traditional export destinations for the EU and examples of major EU markets where Russia has captured

significant market share.

Saudi Arabia has historically been a top market for EU wheat, with the European Union capturing nearly 95-percent market share in the 5years leading up to 2019/20. While wheat import demand in Saudi Arabia has declined in 2023/24as domestic production increased due to high domestic procurement prices, government buyer Global Food Security Authoritys (GFSA) import preferences have shifted from EU to Russian wheat. GFSA is the sole importer of wheat, making purchases through international tenders. Russian wheat supplies have become increasingly price competitive in these tenders, ousting the European Union as the top supplier.

Russian encroachment on EU market share in North Africa is also evident in the case of Algeria. Algerias government-run procurement agency Office Algérien Interprofessional des Céréales (OAIC) is the countrys sole wheat importer, and it has traditionally relied on EU supplies. Just 5years ago, the

EU captured 85-percent market share in Algeria, but the government has since sought to diversify suppliers of bread wheat. In 2020, Algeria modified its wheat import restrictions, raising the rate of permitted insect-damaged grain, which allowed for imports of Black Sea origin. Russia wheat exports to Algeria have since expanded significantly.

With Algerian millers indicating satisfaction with Russian supplies, Russia and the European Union have battled for majority market share so far this year.

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