Iran’s wheat imports could triple next year after severe weather conditions

Iran may triple its wheat imports in 2021-2022, with Russian exports at 4m tonnes, as the region recovers from dry and hot weather conditions

By Masha Belikova, grains news and price reporter for Fastmarkets AgriCensus

Iran is expected to more than triple its wheat imports in the 2021-2022 marketing year and could import up to 8 million tonnes after hot and dry weather conditions in the region, while at least half of the needed volume has already been covered.

Analysis by Fastmarkets AgriCensus of shipping line-up data from the region also suggests the country has already secured significant volumes of Russian wheat this marketing year, despite official data showing no such exports.

Impact of weather on production
Along with other countries in the Middle East region, Iran has faced severely dry and hot weather that has significantly downgraded crop production and increased its import needs, with much of the volume likely to be handled by the state-backed Government Trading Corporation (GTC).

“We need to import 8 million tonnes this year and GTC discharged 2 million tonnes last week,” a source with knowledge of the matter said.

The source also said that local estimates for the current crop stand at around 4.5 million tonnes, while consumption is expected to reach 12 million tonnes.

Currently, the USDA is expecting wheat production to reach 15 million tonnes, down 10% year-on-year, but data for the US agency is difficult to gather amid an escalation in political tensions between the two countries in recent years.

However, with domestic demand put at 12 million tonnes, the gap needing to be covered by stocks and imports could stand at 7.5 million mt.

Russian exports at 4 million tonnes
Analysis of line-up data and evidence from trade sources points to Russia already selling a huge volume of wheat to Iran through this marketing year, with available information suggesting up to 4 million tonnes has already been loaded already out of Russian ports between July through to September.

That comes alongside around 1 million tonnes of wheat that has been sold to Iran from Germany for delivery in the 2021-2022 marketing year.

During the 2020-2021 marketing year, Iran imported 1.5 million tonnes of wheat, according to custom’s data compared to USDA’s estimate at 2.2 million tonnes.

Meanwhile, for the 2021-2022 marketing year, the USDA has increased Iran’s wheat imports to 2.5 million tonnes as the crop stands at 15 million tonnes, down only 10% year-on-year.

This article, by Masha Belikova, was first published to on Monday October 4.

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