June 13, 2019
Huge demands from Indonesia, Philippines to make SE Asia world's top wheat buyer
With domestic wheat production almost nonexistent, Southeast Asia is expected to be the top wheat-importing region for the first time in marketing year 2018-19, mainly driven by strong demand in Indonesia and the Philippines.
In its monthly report for June, the US Department of Agriculture said that historically, the Middle East and North Africa drove global wheat demand. "While those regions continue to demand large amounts of wheat, Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa have seen major growth and are now significant forces in global wheat trade", the report noted.
"All of these regions are consistent importers because production is insufficient to meet consumption".
In 2019-20, Southeast Asia is again forecast to be the world's top wheat importer, with Indonesia and the Philippines continuing to be the driving forces.
The report said Indonesia has more than doubled its wheat imports in the last decade to become the world's second-largest importer after Egypt.
The Philippines' wheat imports have also more than doubled over the last decade, with a large surge occurring in 2018-19, largely because of reduced supplies of other grains as typhoons cut domestic corn, as well as rice, production.
Russia, the top exporter as of 2018, is expected to remain as the leading global supplier of wheat as it anticipates bumper crops, along with Ukraine, the No. 7 top exporter.
Supplies from these two countries, the report said, "will likely feature prominently in fulfilling regional demand once again".