WASHINGTON — Mexico remained the largest market for US wheat in 2020-21, according to export data compiled by the US Department of Agriculture. Other importers rounding out the top five markets for US wheat in 2020-21 included, in order of import volume, China, the Philippines, Japan and the Republic of Korea. Mexico has been the leading importer of US wheat in most recent years, but China leapt into the No. 2 slot last year after an 11th place ranking in 2019-20 and a 47th place ranking in 2018-19.
Mexico imported 3,459,200 tonnes of US wheat in 2020-21, securing the No. 1 position despite its imports being down 6% from 3,670,000 tonnes in 2021-20. Mexico was the largest importer of US hard red winter wheat in 2020-21 at 2,234,300 tonnes and the No. 1 importer of soft red winter wheat at 617,600 tonnes.
China imported 3,212,500 tonnes of US wheat in 2020-21 compared with 549,500 tonnes in 2019-20. China was the second-largest buyer of hard red winter wheat in 2020-21 at 1,227,900 tonnes. Additionally, China purchased 744,600 tonnes of hard red spring wheat in 2020-21, making it the third-largest buyer of that wheat class, 179,000 tonnes of soft red winter wheat and 1,061,100 tonnes of white wheat.
The Philippines imported 3,174,700 tonnes of US wheat in 2020-21, up slightly from 3,141,900 tonnes in 2019-29. The Philippines was the largest buyer of US hard red spring wheat in 2020-21, importing 1,856,300 tonnes. The Philippines has been the largest buyer of US hard red spring wheat in each of the last five years with Japan a distant second in each of those years. The Philippines also has been the largest buyer of white wheat in each of the last five years. It imported 1,285,800 tonnes of US white wheat in 2020-21, down from 1,320,100 tonnes in 2019-20.
Japan imported 2,430,900 tonnes of US wheat in 2020-21, down 6% from 2,575,400 tonnes in 2019-20. While Japan was the fourth largest buyer of US wheat in 2020-21, it was the third largest market for US wheat in both 2019-20 and 2018-19 and the second-largest market for US wheat in 2017-18 and 2016-17. Japan was the fourth-largest buyer of hard red winter wheat in 2020-21 at 861,300 tonnes. It was the second-largest buyer of hard red spring wheat at 936,000 tonnes and the fourth-largest buyer of white wheat at 630,200 tonnes.
South Korea rounded the top five importers of US wheat in 2020-21 purchasing 1,807,700 tonnes, up 35% from 1,340,800 tonnes in 2019-20. South Korea purchased 303,200 tonnes of hard red winter wheat, making it the seventh-largest importer of that wheat class in 2020-21. South Korea purchased 431,900 tonnes of hard red spring wheat, making it the sixth-largest buyer of that class. South Korea purchased 1,069,200 tonnes of white wheat in 2020-21, making it second only to the Philippines as the largest buyer of US white wheat.
When it came to durum, Italy remained far and away the largest buyer of US durum purchasing 447,700 tonnes in 2020-21. Algeria was a distant second at 82,300 tonnes.