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Türkiye suspends wheat imports until October to protect producers!

Türkiye on Friday announced it would halt wheat imports from June 21 until at least mid-October to safeguard farmers from price fluctuations, secure domestic procurement of raw materials and create a favorable market for producers.

U.S. and European wheat futures dropped sharply on the news, both falling around 2%, with traders fearing Russian exporters would be struck by the move, compelling supplies earmarked for Türkiye to be sold cheaply in other markets.

Türkiye is the world’s fifth largest wheat importer, buying mainly from Russia…

In a statement, Türkiye’s Agriculture and Forestry Ministry said it would halt imports of wheat until at least Oct. 15 in accordance with foreign trade measures recommended by the Trade Ministry to protect producers, and added other measures would also be taken.

The measures would be implemented to “prevent our producers from being affected by price decreases due to supply density during the harvest period, to meet the raw material supply required for our exports from domestic production, and to ensure market stability in favor of producers,” it said.

European grain traders feared the import ban would take hold just as Russia’s new harvest this summer was set to enter world markets.

“Russia is likely to be the main loser on this,” a German grain trader said. “Russia supplies somewhere between 60%-75% of Türkiye’s wheat imports and this ban looks like it is coming into force just as Russia’s new crop needs to be marketed.”

“If Russian wheat cannot be sold in Türkiye, it will have to be offered elsewhere at low prices, which could mean other importers in the Middle East, Africa and Asia will benefit.”

But this could also cut importer demand for European and U.S. wheat, traders said.

Ban could be extended

Shortly after the announcement, Russia’s Agriculture Ministry said it does not believe that Türkiye’s temporary ban will adversely affect the country.

Agriculture Minister Oksana Lut said Russian exporters were already considering how to send production volumes to other destinations, Interfax news agency reported.

Oksana Lut

On Thursday, the ministry said the Turkish Grain Board (TMO) had set 2024 crop grain purchase prices for durum wheat, milling wheat and barley.

The import halt could be extended beyond Oct. 15 depending on “market conditions on that date,” the ministry added.

It also said the exports of flour from domestically-produced wheat, banned since September 2018, would be allowed and added barley, milling and durum wheat exports can now be done using a TMO export license in a “controlled” way.

Türkiye is expected to import 12 million metric tons of grain in the 2024/25 season, including 8.5 million tons of wheat, according to figures from the International Grains Council…

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