November 24, 2008
Italy, a major grain buyer in Europe, bought less wheat and maize abroad in the first 8 months of 2008, Italian cereals body Anacer said on Friday (Nov 21, 2008).
Imports of soft wheat fell nearly 17 percent to 2,240,550 tonnes in the January-August period from the same period last year, with the EU grain accounting for 98 percent of the fall in imports, Anacer said in a statement.
Corn imports fell to 1,386,008 tonnes between January and August 2008 from 1,598,972 tonnes a year earlier. EU maize imports fell by 737,000 tonnes while imports from outside the bloc increased by 510,000 tonnes in the same period, it said.
Durum wheat imports, which had been rising earlier in the year, slipped to 1,072,500 tonnes between January and August 2008 from 1,092,246 tonnes a year ago.
Barley imports fell to 398,872 tonnes from 487,746 tonnes.
Italy needed to import fewer cereals this year because output rose thanks to increased planted areas and improved yields.
For example, soft wheat output jumped nearly 20 percent to 3.90 million tonnes and maize rose about 6 percent to 10.4 million tonnes, according to the latest data from Italy's statistics agency Istat.
Exports of soft wheat flour plunged to 36,510 tonnes from 98,608 tonnes a year ago. Exports of durum wheat semolina, used for making pasta, eased to 34,177 tonnes from 37,873 tonnes.