Australian wheat sales to Egypt, Sudan and Tanzania lose out to Black Sea exporters

23.11.2017

WHEAT sales to some of Australia’s traditional big buyers in Africa have virtually dried up.

Long-time buyer Sudan stopped buying Australian wheat two years ago while Tanzania has taken just a few container loads in the past two years.

The world’s biggest wheat importer, Egypt, bought its smallest amount of Australian grain in more than 20 years in 2016-17, according to export data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Collectively, the three African countries have bought more than one million tonnes of wheat for much of the past 10 years.

Sudan has averaged about 650,000 tonnes for the 10 years up to 2014-15, but has not bought a grain of wheat from Australia for each of the past two seasons.

Tanzania has been a regular buyer for most of the past two decades with imports of Australian wheat ranging from 60,000 tonnes to 360,000 tonnes, but it only took 102 tonnes in 2015-16 and 1257 tonnes last season in containers.

Egyptian imports of Australian wheat peaked at 2.76 million tonnes in 2003-04 and shipments ranged from 245,000 tonnes to 1.47 million tonnes since then.

But shipments to Egypt slumped to 145,838 tonnes in the season ending September 30 this year.

CBH Group’s general manager of marketing and trading Jason Craig said Australian wheat was no longer competitive for the Egyptian and Tanzanian markets, with Black Sea countries — Russia, Kazakhstan and the Ukraine — providing much cheaper grain.

“Over the past eight to 10 years, we’ve been putting less wheat into Egypt,” Mr Craig said.

“There has been a small amount of wheat shipped to Egypt from the east coast (of Australia) — mostly high protein wheat.

Mr Craig said Black Sea wheat was also displacing Australian grain in eastern Africa.

“There is a lot of Black Sea wheat going into Tanzania,” he said.

Mr Craig said shipments to Sudan faced a different problem: it was on a US sanctions list and it was difficult to get payment for wheat sold there.

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