Russia’s agriculture ministry has proposed a ban on durum wheat exports for six months starting on December 1.
The move could further tighten world supplies of durum wheat — used mainly for making pasta — at a time when harvests in No. 1 producer Canada and other countries have been hurt by extreme weather conditions, as Gro wrote about here.
Russia is one of the world’s largest producers of wheat, and the biggest exporter of the grain. Although durum represents only about 1% of Russia’s total wheat production, the export ban is aimed at ensuring adequate durum supplies and containing prices in its domestic market.
Russia’s wheat crop saw record yields in the latest year, according to Gro’s Russia Wheat Yield Forecast Model. The country’s total wheat exports are forecast to increase by some 6% in the 2023/24 marketing year, which ends next June, from 47 million tonnes a year earlier, in part due to Russia’s competitive export prices, as seen in this Gro display.
Russia typically exports durum wheat to Italy and Turkey, along with smaller quantities to China as seen in this Gro display. Early in the current marketing year, the country exported 52,000 tonnes to Italy, a near 20-fold jump versus a year earlier. Exports also surged to Turkey throughout 2022 and early 2023, likely drawing down Russian inventories.
Italy is a major importer of durum, traditionally sourcing mainly from Canada, as seen in this Gro display. But with Canadian supplies tight, Italy has turned to other nations for a much larger share.
Russia has resorted to grain trade restrictions multiple times in recent years in efforts to quell domestic food price inflation. Export curbs in 2021/22, for example, resulted in a year-over-year decline in Russian wheat exports of about 40%. Other countries also have restricted exports in response to domestic inflationary pressures, such as India’s recent limitations placed on rice and sugar exports.