Iran's 21/22 wheat imports could triple, Russian exports at 4m mt

4 Oct 2021 | Masha Belikova

Iran is expected to more than triple its wheat imports in the 2021/22 marketing year and could import up to 8 million mt after hot and dry weather conditions in the region, while at least half of the needed volume has already been covered.

Analysis by Agricensus of shipping line-up data from the region also suggests the country has already secured significant volumes of Russian wheat this marketing year, despite official data showing no such exports.

Along with other countries in the Middle East region, Iran has faced severely dry and hot weather that has significantly downgraded crop production and increased its import needs, with much of the volume likely to be handled by the state-backed Government Trading Corporation (GTC).

“We need to import 8 million mt this year and GTC discharged 2 million mt last week,” a source with knowledge of the matter said.

The source also said that local estimates for the current crop stand at around 4.5 million mt, while consumption is expected to reach 12 million mt.

Currently, the USDA is expecting wheat production to reach 15 million mt, down 10% year-on-year, but data for the US agency is difficult to gather amid an escalation in political tensions between the two countries in recent years. 

However, with domestic demand put at 12 million mt, the gap needing to be covered by stocks and imports could stand at 7.5 million mt. 

Analysis of line-up data and evidence from trade sources points to Russia already selling a huge volume of wheat to Iran through this marketing year, with available information suggesting up to 4 million mt has already been loaded already out of Russian ports between July through to September.

That comes alongside around 1 million mt of wheat that has been sold to Iran from Germany for delivery in the 2021/22 marketing year.

During the 2020/21 marketing year, Iran imported 1.5 million mt of wheat, according to custom’s data compared to USDA’s estimate at 2.2 million mt.

Meanwhile, for the 2021/22 marketing year, the USDA has increased Iran’s wheat imports to 2.5 million mt as the crop stands at 15 million mt, down only 10% year-on-year.