TÜRKIYE — The Turkish Agriculture Ministry has announced that it will halt wheat imports from June 21 through mid-October to protect Turkey’s farmers from price volatility, secure domestic procurement of raw materials, and create a favorable market environment.

According to a statement from the Ministry, the import halt will last until at least October 15 and is in line with foreign trade measures recommended by the Trade Ministry to safeguard local producers. Additional measures are expected to support this initiative.

The ministry’s statement outlined the rationale behind the decision:

The measures will be implemented to prevent our producers from being affected by price decreases due to supply density during the harvest period, to meet the raw material supply required for our exports from domestic production, and to ensure market stability in favor of producers.”

The announcement, however, sent ripples through the global wheat market, causing U.S. and European wheat futures to drop sharply, both falling around 2%.

Türkiye, the world’s fifth-largest wheat importer, relies heavily on Russian wheat. Russia supplies between 60% and 75% of Türkiye’s wheat imports, and this ban looks like it is coming into force just as Russia’s new crop needs to be marketed.

With Türkiye’s significant role as a major buyer removed, Russian wheat may have to be sold elsewhere at lower prices, potentially benefiting other importers in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. However, this could also lead to a decrease in demand for European and U.S. wheat, as traders have warned.

However, in response to Türkiye’s announcement, Russia’s Agriculture Ministry has taken a measured stance, stating that it does not anticipate a significant negative impact.

Agriculture Minister Oksana Lut has indicated that Russian exporters are already proactively exploring alternative markets for their wheat.

Wheat prices slide further

Following the announcement, Chicago and Paris wheat futures hit one-month lows as the news from Türkiye dampened the demand outlook.

The most active wheat contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) dropped 2.1% to US$6.26-1/4 a bushel by 9:53 a.m. GMT, marking its eighth consecutive daily decline.

Earlier, it touched its lowest level since May 6 at US$6.25-1/2, nearly US$1 below last week’s peak of US$7.20.

On Euronext, September wheat (BL2U4) plunged 4.1% in early trade to 241.00 euros per metric ton, its weakest since May 8.

This is going to take a major importer out of the market during the first part of the marketing season,” said a European trader regarding Türkiye’s decision.

The absence of Turkish demand could heighten competition in other export markets, notably for Black Sea wheat, particularly Russian wheat.

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