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European buyers waiting for a big Canadian durum crop

World durum buyers are expecting Canada to offer a plentiful supply of durum this fall, according to Canadian market analyst Jerry Klassen.

North Africa is an important destination for Canadian durum and production of durum throughout large portions of Morocco and Algeria has been slashed by drought. However, at this time, buyers from those countries are not swarming in for Canadian durum.

“North African buyers are covered in the short term and waiting until the Canadian harvest to extend coverage,” Klassen said in a recent interview.

Italy also had a short crop this year. “The largest importer in the 2022/23 crop year will be Italy, and it will be the Italian merchants and millers who set the price structure on the world market,” he explained.

Italy’s crop is estimated at about 3.5 million tonnes, versus 4.1 million tonnes last year. Klassen pegs the total European durum crop at 7.0 million tonnes, down from the year-ago production of 7.7 million.

The recent extreme heat in Europe, widely covered by the media, arrived after most of the durum in France was fully developed. Hence, the heat in July resulted in optimal harvest conditions.

In Italy, approximately 50% of the main durum region received less than half of the normal precipitation from April through June. There was yield drag in Italy, but farmers were also able to harvest during favourable weather.

Klassen expects the smaller crop in Europe and North Africa to lead to greater exports by Canada during the months ahead. However, buyers assume that Canada will have lots of durum for them to buy.

They’re expecting a big Canadian crop of 6 million tonnes to as much as 6.5 million tonnes, up from just 2.65 million in 2021. The buyers will therefore wait for harvest pressure, as they’re in no rush yet to secure supplies, Klassen indicated.

He also commented that the US crop is getting very high ratings. “The North Dakota crop report had durum conditions at 87% good to excellent as of July 24,” he said, adding that the US will produce more than double the volume that came off last year.

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