Focus on Iran
World-Grain – 10/16/2019
Iran has one of the most diverse climates of any country in the world, with a wide variation in farming conditions. It has been, as a customer, a big player in the grain market, particularly with regional partners, although it is now at, or near, self-sufficiency in wheat. Iranians are among the biggest consumers of bread in the world and the government manages the supply of wheat to ensure adequate supplies…the Iranian Ministry of Agriculture said in July that Iran would be self-sufficient in wheat for the fourth consecutive year. Esmael Esfandyari-Pour, an adviser to the minister who is responsible for the administration of wheat planning, said that since the beginning of harvest, more than 2 million tonnes of wheat had been purchased from farmers in the warmer regions of the country. At that point harvesting had just started in more temperate areas. However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) said in its Grain: World Markets and Trade report for September 2019 that Iran’s wheat import ban remains in place, with exceptions made if the wheat is used to re-export as flour.
Drought Vaporizes Australia’s Share of Global Wheat Exports
Reuters – 10/17/2019
Drought has plagued Australia’s wheat crop for the third year in a row, and the sharp production losses have caused the traditionally major wheat supplier to slip into its most insignificant state ever on the global export scene. This has opened the door for other suppliers to take advantage, but global wheat supply is still comfortable and exports competitive even as Australia has been largely lacking from the equation for two years now. Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reduced Australia’s 2019-20 wheat harvest to 18 million tonnes from the previous estimate of 19 million. That would top last year’s 17.3 million tonnes, an 11-year low, but it is paltry compared with the country’s record 2016-17 crop of 31.8 million tonnes. The harvest could shrink, however, as the dryness is more evenly distributed across the country than a year ago, and hot temperatures have made things even worse.
Russia Says Vietnam Asked it to Temporarily Suspend Wheat Exports
Reuters – 10/17/2019
Vietnam has asked Russia’s agriculture safety watchdog to temporarily suspend issuing wheat export certificates, Yulia Melano, spokeswoman for watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor, said on Thursday.
Russia is the world’s largest wheat exporter and Vietnam is a major buyer of its wheat but it slashed its purchases significantly a year ago after finding imports containing thistle seed. “Rosselkhoznadzor received an official letter from the Vietnamese side requesting a temporary suspension of the issuance of phytosanitary certificates to wheat exporters,” Melano said.
Granaries Overflowing, Food Depts SOS to MEA: Send Wheat, Rice as Aid to Deserving Countries
The Indian Express – 10/15/2019
With Food Corporation of India granaries overflowing, the government is looking to liquidate its grain stocks to prevent damage and minimise the carrying cost in the country beyond the requirement. In fact, the Food Ministry wants the Ministry of External Affairs to look at the option of presenting the surplus grain stocks as “humanitarian aid to deserving countries”.
***USW wants you to be aware that Indian authorities are considering ways to move very large wheat stocks produced by massive subsidies – Indian has a history of building wheat stocks to unsustainable levels, which last occurred in 2013. At that time they exported approximately 8 MMT to SE Asia and African markets. While Indian media is notoriously partisan, this article represents one point of view of which you should be aware.
Australia Seeks to Ratify Hong Kong, Indonesia, Peru Trade Deal by Year-End
Reuters – 10/15/2019
Australia’s government introduced legislation on Tuesday to ratify trade deals with Indonesia, Hong Kong and Peru, key planks of its push to boost the economy via new export opportunities for agriculture businesses. The government aims to push the trade deal legislation, which will remove many of the tariffs that have hindered two-way trade between Australia and the three countries, through both houses of parliament by the end of year. The deals have been broadly welcomed by the country’s large rural voter base, which has been struggling against drought conditions for three years. That’s left farmers with the double whammy of both smaller crops and stiff international competition for the produce they are able to harvest for export.
Source: U.S. Wheat Associates