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EU expects to expand durum exports

20 August 20213 min reading

With slashed durum supplies in Canada and the United States, Mexico and the European Union have an opportunity to expand exports in 2021/22. EU durum production is forecast up 7 percent to 7.7 million tons, while Mexico’s crop is up 9 percent to 1.3 million tons.

A severe drought in Western Canada and the Northern Plains of the United States will sharply reduce North American durum wheat production. Canada is the top durum producer globally, producing 6.6 million tons in 2020/21. This year, however, Canada is expected to have a dramatically lower yield, leading to substantially lower durum production. The U.S. durum crop is also down significantly year over-year, dropping 50 percent to 900,000 tons.

Canada consistently leads not only as the top global durum producer but also the largest exporter. In 2020/21, Canada exported nearly 6.0 million tons of durum wheat—90 percent of its crop. The majority of Canada durum exports are destined for Italy, North Africa, and the United States.

U.S. durum wheat exports pale in comparison to Canada, supplying just 600,000 tons to international markets in 2020/21. The United States is a residual supplier, mostly exporting to Europe and North Africa. With reduced durum production, U.S. exports are forecast to drop below 400,000 tons in 2021/22.

With slashed durum supplies in Canada and the United States, Mexico and the European Union have an opportunity to expand exports in 2021/22. EU durum production is forecast up 7 percent to 7.7 million tons, while Mexico’s crop is up 9 percent to 1.3 million tons. However, these slight boosts to durum production in Europe and Mexico will not be sufficient to offset declines elsewhere.

Italy, the world’s top pasta-producing country, continues to demand imported durum wheat grain, which is then  re-exported as pasta. Italy imported nearly 2 million tons of durum wheat from Canada and the United States in 2020/21. Despite increased supplies in Europe, Italy will struggle to find the necessary supplies in 2021/22 to continue its robust pasta production.

Turkey, another major pasta producer, sources nearly half of its imported durum wheat from Canada. With pasta exports on the rise and lower production in 2021/22, Turkey must turn towards lower-priced suppliers such as Mexico to fulfill demand from its domestic millers and pasta producers.

North African countries, meanwhile, consume durum wheat for both semolina milling and pasta production. Because Morocco and Algeria primarily source durum wheat from Canada, imports arebexpected to diminish significantly in 2021/22. In addition, Morocco’s domestic wheat production has nearly tripled from the previous year, easing some of its durum supply issues. Algeria also imports a significant amount of durum wheat from Mexico, and it will likely shift to sourcing more from there in 2021/22 to ease some loss of supplies from Canada. USDA

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