World flour trade holds at all-time high, barely

by Josh Sosland
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World flour trade
World flour trade in the current crop year was projected at a record 17 million tonnes.

LONDON — Significant changes in global flows of flour were projected in the latest 2017-18 forecasts of the International Grains Council, but aggregate global trade totals were left unchanged by the I.G.C. from its August outlook.

World flour trade in the current crop year was projected at a record 17 million tonnes (wheat equivalent), up slightly from a revised 16,900,000 tonnes in 2016-17 and up from 16,612,000 in 2015-16 and 14,206,000 in 2014-15.

While the total figure was left unchanged, the import forecast was adjusted from the last report for more countries than not. Among the largest importers, Afghanistan flour imports were forecast at 2,750,000 tonnes, up 60,000 tonnes from the August projection and up from 2,480,000 tonnes in 2016-17. Iraq, the second largest flour importing country, was forecast at 2,600,000 tonnes, up 50,000 tonnes from August and up from 2,388,000 tonnes in 2016-17.

Uzbekistan was projected to import 900,000 tonnes this year, down 200,000 tonnes from August but up slightly from 870,000 tonnes in 2016-17. Sudan was projected to import 700,000 tonnes, down from 820,000 tonnes as the August forecast but still up from 600,000 tonnes in 2016-17. Brazil’s flour imports were projected at 700,000 tonnes, up 50,000 from the I.G.C. forecast in August and up 100,000 tonnes from last year.

The Council made fewer adjustments in forecasts for flour exports in 2017-18 by country. Turkey, by far the largest flour exporter globally, was projected at 5,450,000 tonnes in 2017-18, unchanged from August and up from 5,318,000 in 2016-17. Kazakhstan, the second largest flour exporter, was projected at 3,350,000 tonnes, up 150,000 tonnes from August and up from 3,194,000 tonnes in 2016-17.

Projected exports from the E.U.-28 were 950,000 tonnes, down 200,000 tonnes from August and down from 1,100,000 tonnes in 2016-17. Ukraine flour exports were forecast at 600,000 tonnes, up 50,000 from August and up from 562,000 tonnes in 2016-17.

U.S. flour exports in 2017-18 were forecast at 450,000 tonnes, unchanged from August and down from 466,000 tonnes in 2016-17.

Estimates for several flour importers, and a few exporters, were adjusted for 2016-17.

Imports by Uzbekistan last year were revised to 870,000 tonnes, down from the August estimate of 1 million tonnes; Afghanistan to 2,480,000 tonnes, from 2,580,000 tonnes in August; Angola to 790,000 tonnes from 770,000; and Sudan to 600,000 tonnes from 800,000 tonnes. Figures for numerous smaller importers were adjusted as well.

In the case of exporters, Argentine exports in 2016-17 were pegged at 1,008,000 tonnes, up 5,000 tonnes; Kazakhstan, at 3,194,000, up 3,000 tonnes; Russia, 276,000 tonnes, up 19,000 tonnes; and Iran, 320,000, up 60,000 tonnes. 
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