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Canada's durum wheat set for major comeback in 2024/25

28 June 20242 min reading

In its June ‘Grain: World Markets and Trade’ report, the USDA forecasts a significant recovery for Canada’s durum wheat production in the 2024/25 season, with output expected to rise by 36% following a drought-affected 2023/24. This anticipated rebound is set to restore Canada's dominance in the global market and stabilize durum wheat prices.

The 2023/24 season saw Canada's wheat output severely impacted by drought conditions, leading to a notable decline in its global market share. The report notes that Canada's share of global durum wheat exports fell from 70% to 43% during the first nine months of the trade year. Canada is traditionally the largest global exporter of durum wheat, accounting for more than 50 percent of world exports during most years. However, Canada’s drought-affected crop in 2023/24 allowed Turkey to transform into a major durum exporter to meet global demand.

Canada’s Durum Dominance Uprooted in 2023/24, Recovery Expected in 2024/25

The USDA forecasts a substantial recovery in Canada's 2024/2025 durum crop, estimating production to rebound to 5.5 million tons, a 36% increase year-over-year. This optimistic outlook is attributed to expected improvements in yields returning to historical averages and an expansion in planted area. Market analysts also anticipate a marked improvement in harvest conditions, as export prices for Canadian durum, on a Free-on-Board (FOB) basis, have dropped significantly from $510/ton in early September 2023 to $360/ton by the end of May 2024.

Traditionally, a significant portion of Canada's durum wheat is exported to Algeria, Italy, Morocco, and the United States. While Moroccan and U.S. imports from Canada were minimally affected by the reduced crop size, Italy diversified its durum wheat imports to include Turkey, Russia, and Kazakhstan. Canadian durum imports to Italy plummeted to approximately 370,000 tons in 2023/24, down from over 1.1 million tons the previous year. In contrast, Turkey, Russia, and Kazakhstan collectively seized an additional 1.1 million tons of the Italian durum market between July 2023 and February 2024.

Algeria also reduced its reliance on Canadian durum, turning to Mexico as an alternative supplier. Mexican durum exports to Algeria surged from 171,000 tons in the first half of 2022/23 to 350,000 tons in the same period in 2023/24, according to data from the National Chamber of the Wheat Milling Sector (CANIMOLT) and Mexican customs.

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