ALGERIA- French farm office “FranceAgriMer” has updated its outlook for French soft wheat exports to Algeria, in the first half of the 2022/2023 commercial campaign by 30%
North Africa is the second largest wheat purchasing center after the Middle East where Algeria and Egypt are the main drivers of the demand growth since cereal is their staple food.
Besides, Algeria is among the largest consumers of wheat in the world whose consumption accounts for 60% of the food ration in the country.
According to USDA data, the country was the second market for French wheat after Morocco whose sales also exploded by more than 50% to hit 1.74 million tons between July And December 2022.
Algeria’s wheat consumption is, however, expected to increase slightly to 11.15 million tons in 2022-23, up from 11.10 million in the 2021-22 commercial year according to the country’s data.
Last year, the country’s imports from France rose to 1.497M tonnes from 1.05 million tonnes in 2021, according to data from FranceAgriMer.
Paul Le Bideau, deputy head of the Grains and sugar unit of FranceAgriMer noted that he believes the increase in shipments was linked to an improvement in the competitiveness of French wheat over the said period.
The competitiveness of French wheat in North African markets has been linked to the competitiveness of Russian wheat due to rising insurance costs for shipping supplies from Russia.
However, market participants consulted by FranceAgriMer had estimates for French non-EU soft wheat exports ranging between 10 and 11 million tonnes. It was also noted that there was still much uncertainty over the impact of Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine.
“ This situation is coupled with the reluctance of certain countries which are reluctant to buy Russian cereals. On the other hand, the logistical costs make the Australian origin less attractive for the Maghreb ,” said Paul, FranceAgriMer.
Algeria, different from most African countries, relies on its wheat exports from the EU, France, Germany, Spain, and Canada hence the Russian war may not have had a significant impact.
Despite its vantage position, observers note that the challenge will be to keep up the pace by the end of the season next June following an expected flow of Russian wheat.