Latvian Grain Flows Into the MENA


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Total Latvian Wheat, rye, mixed Grains, triticale, Barley, corn, and oat production in marketing year (MY) 2021/22 was forecast at 3.2 million metric tons (MMT), a 7.4-percent decrease from MY 2020/21. The forecast drop in Grain production stems from lower-than-expected yields following high production in MY 2020/21. The USDA forecasted MY 2021/22 yields to be more consistent with the six-year average. The area planted for Grains is in line with the previous year, except for Wheat and oats. Farmers increased Latvia’s Wheat area, anticipating another year of high prices and export opportunities. Latvia’s total spring and winter Grains area planted reached 730,000 hectares (HA), a 0.4 percent decrease from MY 2020/21. Oats accounted for the most significant area decline.

In MY 2021/22, the USDA projected the total Barley area planted, mostly spring Barley, at about the same level as the previous year. Despite chilly spring planting conditions in April 2021, spring rains improved soil moisture and should boost plant development in May and June. Barley production is projected at 270,000 MT, a 12.6-percent decline from the previous year. Due to lower Grain availability, domestic feed Barley consumption was to diminish slightly from MY 2020/21.

The USDA forecasted MY 2021/22 Latvian Wheat production at 2.5 MMT, down from the previous MY’s 2.66 MMT. Following higher production in MY 2020/21, the agency anticipates yields closer to the long-term average. The area planted for Wheat remained about the same as the previous MY, at 500,000 HA. In MY 2021/22, the agency predicted Wheat exports would be slightly lower than last year due to more limited Grain availability.

Latvian MY 2021/22 rye production was forecast at 172,000 MT, a 3.4-percent decrease from last year. The rye area remains unchanged. In MY 2020/21, rye production declined by 6.8 percent from the previous year due to the smaller area planted and slightly lower yields. In terms of oats, in MY 2020/21, weather conditions were favorable for oat producers. Oat production reached a record level of 288,000 MT.

Latvian Grain Exports

Latvia is a net exporter of soft Wheat. High global prices motivated Latvian exporters, particularly for non-EU markets in MY 2020/21. During the first seven months of MY 2020/21 (July-January), Latvia exported almost 2.3 MMT of Wheat, a 19-percent increase over the same time from the previous year. Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is the Latvian core market. Algeria, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and Morocco are the leading market destinations for Latvian Wheat. Saudi Arabia was the primary buyer in previous years, although the USDA notes a current shift toward Algeria.

Latvia became a significant EU Wheat exporter in MY 2020/21, with Wheat accounting for 89 percent of total Grain exports. During the first seven months of MY 2020/21 (July-January), total Latvian Grain exports reached 2.6 MMT, a 16-percent increase over the same period in MY 2019/20. The main export destinations were Algeria, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and South Africa. The USDA anticipated that in MY 2020/21, shipments to Algeria would displace some of Latvia’s shipments to Saudi Arabia. Due to the bumper crops across the Baltic region, the three Baltic States will compete for global market share with leading EU exporters, including France and Romania.

Total Latvian Grain exports in MY 2019/20, including corn, reached 3.1 MMT, up from MY 2018/19’s record low of 1.1 MMT. Grain quality was inconsistent and based on the region. In spring 2020, Latvia took advantage of the strong international post-COVID demand, particularly for Wheat, as many importing countries sought to bolster domestic Grain stocks. During seven months of MY 2020/21 (July-January), Latvia imported 742,000 MT of Grains, mainly Wheat, from other EU countries and Russia.

Other sources: USDA

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