CANADA- According to a recent report released by Statistics Canada, all-wheat production stands at 29.5 million metric tons, down 14 percent from last year, which spells doom to pasta lovers.
Canada is the world’s largest producer of durum wheat, which is primarily used in pasta production.
The North American country accounts for around half of global trade in durum but this year’s harvest looks to be the country’s second-smallest harvest in 12 years with Canadian farmers expected to produce 4.3 million metric tons of durum
This estimated production is the second-lowest in eight years as drought in the country persists, affecting the country’s ability to export this wheat.
According to a report by Reuters, Italy’s government called a crisis meeting in May as prices for the staple food jumped by more than double the national inflation rate.
The International Grains Council forecasts 2023/24 global durum production at a 22-year low, pushing world stocks to their smallest in three decades.
Italy is one of the largest importers of durum wheat, and with global production headed for a 22-year low, Italy’s famed pasta makers have had to turn to unusual suppliers such as Turkey for their main ingredient.
Market estimates place Turkish durum export sales so far this season at 300,000 metric tons, with most of them bound for Italy.
According to various traders, Turkey is tapping a bumper harvest and high stocks to reverse its usual role as an importer. Its exports are widely expected to reach 500,000 tons and possibly 1 million depending on government export approvals.
Philip Werle, a partner at Spain-based Northstar Brokerage remarked that Turkish exports have cooled Mediterranean and North American durum prices.
“But they should resume their climb when Turkey runs out in a month or two,” he added
EU import data also suggests that short-term supply relief has come from Russia, which has shipped over 100,000 tons to the European Union since July.
This relief is, however, likely to be shortlived as global supplies continue to condense.
“There’s not going to be enough durum to supply the whole world at a normal demand level,” Strategie Grains analyst Severine Omnes-Maisons commented.
In the meantime, Vincenzo Martinelli, president of the durum section of the Italian Millers Association (Italmopa), nervously awaits the outcome of the Canadian harvest.
“Without Canada, prices will only go up,” he said.
Canada’s diminished wheat crop is, however, not an isolated case as the United States is also expected to harvest a smaller crop due to dryness.
Drought has cut production in Spain and severe weather has produced mixed quality in Italy and France.
As a result, deteriorating supplies drove up the Euronext futures price benchmark to a six-month peak in early August, leading major importer Algeria to cancel a durum tender in early August.