Turkey’s durum wheat exports offer relief to the global pasta market

01 May 20244 min reading

World durum wheat production decreased by 10% to 31.4 million tons in the 2023/24 season. Consumption exceeded production by 2.6 million tons, while ending stocks fell to 4.9 million tons, the lowest level in a decade. With record durum wheat production at a time of tight supply, Turkey has emerged as a key player in international grain markets.

In the 2023/24 season, world durum supplies faced constraints due to adverse weather conditions in key producing regions such as the Middle East, Canada, and the European Union (EU). Droughts in these areas, coupled with quality issues, led to a decrease in durum availability and subsequently drove up global durum prices. In a recent analysis by U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Market Analyst Tyllor Ledford explores the shifting dynamics of the global durum market, highlighting the emergence of non-traditional exporters from the Black Sea region.

The International Grains Council (IGC) data cited in the analysis revealed a 10% decline in global durum production to 31.4 million metric tons (MMT) during the 2023/24 season. Canada, the largest exporter of durum, experienced a significant 30% drop in production to 4.0 MMT due to drought conditions. Similarly, the EU saw a 7% decrease in production to 7.0 MMT, primarily attributed to drought in Spain, while Italy faced challenges with compromised crop quality.

As a consequence of reduced availability and increased import demands, world durum prices remained supported throughout the final quarter of 2023 and into early 2024. French, U.S., and Canadian durum prices in October 2023 were reported at $428/MT, $467/MT, and $450/MT, respectively.

The analysis highlights a significant shift in trade patterns, particularly with Turkey transitioning from a net durum importer to a major exporter. Turkish durum production surged by 15% to a record 4.3 MMT in 2023/24, driven by favorable growing conditions and increased planted areas. A combination of favorable prices, above-average production, and export-oriented domestic support programs has helped Turkey emerge as a key player in international grain markets at a time of tight supply. With prices competitive compared to other origins, Turkey’s durum wheat exports are estimated at 1.7 million tons.  

Moreover, Ledford points out that Russian durum exports are also on the rise, with Stratégie Grains forecasting production at 1.3 MMT and exports projected to reach 800,000 MT, a 60% increase from the previous year.

Consequently, the influx of low-priced Turkish and Russian durum has led to a significant erosion in world durum prices. As of April 16, French durum prices plummeted to $375/MT, with U.S. and Canadian prices following suit at $351/MT and $360/MT, respectively, representing notable declines from October levels.


Looking ahead to the 2024/25 marketing year, IGC forecasts a recovery in global durum production to 34.6 MMT, driven by favorable weather conditions in major producing regions. Turkish durum production is expected to remain robust, with exports potentially exceeding 1.0 MMT. While the long-term implications of Turkey’s emergence as a durum exporter remain uncertain, the immediate outlook suggests comfortable balance sheets. Aykut Göymen, President of the Turkish Pasta Industrialists’ Association, stated, “Turkey has made a significant impact by becoming a durum wheat exporter in the global market. I can confidently say that this is not a one-time occurrence, and Turkey’s position as a durum wheat exporter is sustainable for years to come.”

“In the current lower-priced market, U.S. durum remains competitive. U.S. durum exports are up 36% on the year at 504,000 MT on increased imports from Algeria,” Ledford noted. Additionally, the forecasted expansion of durum acreage in 2024/25 may further bolster U.S. durum production, particularly as favorable prices relative to hard red spring (HRS) wheat incentivize producers to allocate more acreage to durum cultivation. 

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