Imports of durum wheat in the EU surged by +25% y-o-y to 6.1M tonnes, reaching $1.7B in 2020. Over the last year, the share of durum supplies by volume in the total European wheat imports increased from 15.4% to 19.2%. Italy represents the largest importer of durum wheat in the EU. Belgium emerged as the fastest-growing European importer of durum wheat in 2020. The total imports of all types of wheat estimated at 32M tonnes or $7.4B in value terms.
In 2020, the global rye imports rose by 54% y-o-y, owing primarily to the increased supplies to Germany. Over the last year, this country ramped up its imports nearly twofold, from 484 tonnes to 902 tonnes, and remains the major rye importer worldwide. Near 87% of imported rye came to Germany from Poland, the leading global exporter.
In 2021, global sorghum production will grow by 5%, boosted by growing supplies to China. Sorghum imports to the country are expected to rise by 28% compared to the previous year, driven by the increasing demand for animal feed. Prices will continue to rise in line with other cereals, following accelerated food inflation. The advantage of sorghum as a more drought-tolerant crop will allow this product to compete seriously with corn and will further stimulate market expansion.
In the immediate term, the global buckwheat market may face a shortage due to an export ban introduced in Russia. The country, being the largest producer and exporter of buckwheat, restricted exporting unprocessed buckwheat, coarsely ground buckwheat groats, and crushed buckwheat grain from June 5, 2021, to August 31. Russia took this step to preserve the volumes of the buckwheat grain for its domestic consumption and prevent a spike in prices inside the country. China, Latvia and Ukraine featured the most prominent increases in imports from Russia in 2021.
This year, harvests in the EU, the U.S., the UK, Argentina, Morocco and Ukraine are expected to increase, leading to a growth in wheat production. Even though global stockpiles of grains will remain high, there are boosted expectations for inflation due to forecasts of record demand and increased prices for other cereal grains. The rising global population and bioethanol production are key factors leading to this growth in demand for wheat. Another driving factor is the emerging trend in the EU to use more wheat in animal feed rather than barley.
2021 is forecast to see global barley supplies outstripped by demand. This may lead to a sharp rise in grain prices. A substantial proportion of consumption growth is driven by the demand from China for barley-based feed, as China's livestock population continues to recover from the swine fever outbreak. Shortages in supply are expected due to the poor crop yield owing to the adverse weather conditions in Russia, Australia, Turkey and the UK.
The oat market indicated steady growth in 2020. The production and export of oats increased against heightened demand, not only from livestock farmers and producers of animal feed but also from a nascent trend emerging in the food sector: the use of oats as an ingredient in the manufacture of healthy food products.
Driven by rising demand from the food industry and favourable weather, global corn production increased significantly in 2020. The rise in prices made the raw corn-based production of bioethanol unprofitable amid the low cost of traditional fuels due to the pandemic, resulting in the closure of some distilleries. In the future, the growing demand for alternative fuels is expected to offset this shift and promote the corn market.