European Union wheat exports are expected to jump and maize imports plunge in 2022/23 as grain markets adjust to the war in Ukraine, the European Commission said in its first outlook for the next crop season.
The Commission forecast that EU exports of common wheat, or soft wheat, would reach 40 million tonnes in the 2022/23 season that begins in July, up from 33 million expected in 2021/22.
In a note accompanying its forecasts, the Commission said the sharp rise in wheat exports anticipated for 2022/23 reflected 'worldwide demand on lower supply from Ukraine'.
Its estimate of 2021/22 soft wheat exports also represented an upward revision compared with 32 million tonnes expected a month earlier.
Russia's February invasion of Ukraine has halted massive Ukrainian crop exports, leading to record European wheat and oilseed prices.
The Commission projected a steep drop in EU maize (corn) imports next season, to 9 million tonnes, from 14 million now expected for 2021/22, citing tight global availability.
The EU is a net importer of maize for livestock feed and Ukraine is usually one of its largest suppliers.
The Commission forecast that cereal use in livestock feed would decline next season, with wheat consumption dropping to 37.6 million tonnes from 38.8 million expected this season and maize use falling to 62.6 million tonnes from 64.2 million.
The EU's executive body also forecast larger EU grain production, saying a decision to let farmers use fallow land for crops would boost supply. Read full story
Usable production of soft wheat in 2022/23 was pegged at 131.3 million tonnes against 130.0 million in 2021/22, while usable maize output was seen rising to 74.0 million tonnes from 72.5 million.
In oilseeds, rapeseed usable production was pegged at 18.1 million tonnes next season against 17.0 million in 2021/22, with EU rapeseed imports seen falling to 4 million tonnes from 4.9 million.
Sunflower seed output was projected at 11.2 million tonnes versus 10.5 million this season.