EU Wheat Exports to the UAE Are Growing Significantly 


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The United Arab Emirates’ MY 2023/24 Wheat ending stocks will remain stable at 397,000 MT. Post has revised downward Wheat stocks for MY 2022/23 at 397,000 MT, equal to USDA official estimates. In cooperation with industry, the UAE Government intends to maintain large stocks under the federal strategic food reserve law that a minimum of three months’ stock is mandatory.

The UAE MY 2023/24 all Wheat imports (July 2023 – June 2024) are forecast to increase by 3 percent or 50,000 MT to 1.750 MMT. Post has revised all Wheat imports in MY 2022/23 downward to 1.7 MMT, equal to USDA official estimates. The post attributes this increase to rising domestic consumption due to the growing population and improved tourism sector. Around 92 percent of the UAE’s Wheat imports are raw products, with the remainder coming in the form of Wheat products such as flour, pasta, and couscous. There is disagreement in available data sources concerning imports. Given strong economic growth in the UAE supported by various factors, including tourism, oil rents, etc.

Post analysis supports the higher import quantities. Post forecast that UAE imports will continue their V-shaped recovery from COVID-19 and the disruption in global Grain caused by the Ukraine conflict. All UAE Wheat imports increased by 163,375 MT or 12 percent to 1.547 MMT in MY 2021/22 compared to 1.384 MMT in the previous marketing year. Current available data from July to December 2022 puts UAE all Wheat imports at 598,994 MT. UAE Government source data (UAECSC) report Wheat imports at 1.508 MMT for MY 2021/22.

In MY 2021/22, besides India, the UAE also diversified to other sources. The EU’s Wheat exports to the UAE increased by 437 percent or 228,912 MT to reach 281,189 MT compared to just 52,277 MT in the marketing year prior. India and the EU represented 72 percent of the UAE’s total Wheat imports in MY 2021/22 and took market share from previous majority suppliers, including Russia, Australia, Canada, and Ukraine. The year prior, India and the EU represented a mere 28 percent of total UAE Wheat imports. The UAE and the EU enjoy a lengthy trade history, with local industry noting that EU origins are often priced favorably due to proximity and lower logistical costs.

A return to the UAE’s traditional Wheat and Barley origins is likely looking forward. India’s total exports from July through December 2022 are lower by 143,699 compared to last year, while Canada and Australia have increased exports over the same comparable period. According to the AgFlow data, the UAE imported 85,000 tons of Barley from Australia in May-June 2023.

Russian and Ukrainian Wheat exports have dropped significantly since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. Before the conflict, Russia was the number one Wheat supplier to the UAE, while Ukraine was the third largest supplier. In MY 2021/22, Russia’s Wheat exports to UAE dropped further, falling by 66 percent or 211,524 MT to reach 107,000 MT. This compares to 906,931 MT in MY 2019/20, only two years ago. Ukraine’s Wheat exports to the UAE dropped by 61 percent over the same period.

U.S. Exports of Wheat to the UAE Remain Stable

Post forecasts U.S. Wheat exports to the UAE in MY 2023/24 to remain unchanged at 50,000 MT. The Russian export control measures and the Russia-Ukraine war provided opportunities for U.S. Wheat exports to fulfill shortages from Ukraine and Russia. In MY 2021/22, U.S. Wheat exports to UAE increased by 34,283 MT or 218 percent to 49,983 MT compared to only 15,700 MT in the previous marketing year. From July 2022 through January 2023, U.S. all Wheat exports to the UAE were 5,677 MT compared to 3,733 MT same period of the previous marketing year.

Other sources: USDA

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