ANALYSIS: Russian wheat exports fell in first data release since war

9 Mar 2022 | Yana Sukharska

Data from the Russian government has given the first indications of the impact that the country's invasion of Ukraine has had on its own export programme, with analysis by Agricensus suggesting an increased concentration of export flows into satellite nations and core customers.

The data shows a recent high water mark for Russian wheat exports of 900,000 mt in the week to February 17, falling slightly to 800,000 mt in the week to February 24 - the day of the invasion. 

For the week to March 3, however, the volume halved to 400,000 mt. 

Export data will be closely watched by analysts and investors as they try to appraise the impact of sanctions and conflict on the world's biggest wheat exporter in the days and weeks after it invaded neighbouring Ukraine. 

The data also highlighted that Russia is increasing - although from a low base - its exports of processed products and animal feed.


Russian wheat exports reported an overall slow down in the pace in the two-week period from February 17-March 3, with the headline total export figure for the marketing year reaching 26.4 million mt.

Barley and corn loadings practically stopped, however, according to the data from the country’s agriculture ministry, released Wednesday.

Wheat exports during the reporting period - spanning the early stages of the Russian invasion of Ukraine - mean the overall pace is now 23% lower year-on-year.

Russia's traditional main wheat buyers, Turkey and Egypt, resumed imports in the week to March 5 after a two-week break and picked up 100,000 mt each.

This led to an increase in their cumulative indicators with Turkey now importing 4.9 million mt, down 2% on last year's pace, while Egypt reached 3.9 million tons, 48% down year-on-year.

However, Kazakhstan imported 200,000 mt of wheat in the reporting period, lifting its year-to-date total to 2 million mt, and marking an 82% increase year-on-year.

Exports to Belarus were absent in the reporting period, however, with the total figure left unchanged at 700,000 mt - although that figure is still twice the volume the country imported at the same point of the previous year.

Egypt's neighbors have also noticeably increased imports with Libya importing 100,000 mt of wheat during the reporting period, taking it to 700,000 mt since the start of the new marketing year in July.

That is 54% above the same period of the year before, while Sudan entered the list of top 10 importers with volume now reaching 650,000 mt and Benin hit a record high for the current marketing year with 26,000 mt.

Collectively it means African destinations have taken the lead in Russian wheat imports with total volume now at 8.3 million mt, overtaking the countries of the Middle East where total volume reached 8.2 million mt.

Asian countries have also increased imports of Russian wheat in the incomplete marketing season and now stand at 8 million mt, more than during the entire 2020/21 marketing year.

Other grains

Corn exports increased by 100,000 mt during the reporting period, although the pace of exports dropped off completely in the week to March 3.

Nonetheless, the total figure now stands at 2.1 million mt, up 15% year-on-year.

From a low base, Kazakhstan has increased its imports of Russian corn in the first six months of the 2021/22 marketing season to 7,000 mt, putting it already 27% above the volume imported in the whole of the 2020/21 marketing year.

The same situation was noted in Azerbaijan and Belarus in an earlier dataset that showed some 26,000 mt and 24,000 mt respectively had been imported in the first five months, more than during the whole 2020/21 marketing year.

No barley exports were reported for the reporting period, however, with the total figure left unchanged at 2.9 million mt, down 37% year-on-year. 

Processed products

The data also showed that Russia increased its exports of processed wheat products.

Wheat flour reported exports of 200,000 mt, up 81% compared to the same period in 2020, while wheat bran reached 700,000 mt, 46% ahead of last year’s pace.

Wheat flour exports are close to full-year 2020/21 levels, driven by rising demand from the Middle East (79,000 mt), Asia (79,000 mt) and Africa (4,000 mt).

Grain processing products also showed a record export volume - 978,000 mt, taking its share of total exports to 1.9%, the highest level in the past 6 years.

Finally, leguminous crops also set records in terms of share and volume of export shipments - contributing 3.1% and 1.6 million mt, respectively, while feed products also reached record levels. 

Exports of feed products, compound feeds and components jumped to 501,000 mt since the start of the marketing year, with 122,000 mt coming from grains and 119,000 mt from legumes.