By 2020/2021, North Africa could be the world’s largest importer of wheat. This situation, unprecedented in the last three years, is linked in particular to the drop in production in some countries of the region. Egypt will maintain its leadership position with 43% of total purchases. Cereal purchases could rise to 29.7 million tonnes, or 7.4% more than the previous season during the campaign starting next July. This level of imports will put the region ahead of Southeast Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, the other major world wheat consuming regions. In Morocco, import volumes are expected to reach a record level of 5.8 million tonnes, mainly due to a 33% drop in production in the face of drought. In this perspective, the executive has already extended the suspension of customs duties on common wheat until the end of the year, while Tunisia is expected to increase its imports by a third to 2.5 million tonnes of wheat, also as a result of a significant agricultural underperformance. In Algeria, the volume imported is expected to increase by 15.3% to 7.5 million tonnes in 2020/2021. It should be noted that this latter forecast remains tinged with uncertainty due to the decline in the country’s foreign exchange reserves, linked to the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus. In Egypt, the world’s main importer, volumes should be almost stable in 2020/2021, with purchases expected to be around 13 million tonnes according to the USDA.
Source: Agence Ecofin