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China can turn grain markets around

Китай може да обърне пазарите на зърно

For years, China's intentions to import grain have been a sure sign of the development of international trade. Just a month ago, China's loss of interest in US corn caused significant turmoil on the Chicago Stock Exchange.

But, after two weeks of continuous heavy rains in the country, the situation at the local level has changed drastically, which will inevitably lead to surprises in international trade.

The disaster puts the country in a position to secure higher imports at a time when the El Niño effect will sharply reduce wheat production in major producer Australia, and events in the Black Sea region do not look very promising for Ukrainian exports.

"China's wheat imports are already on the rise. If there is crop damage...then it is likely that China will have to increase its imports next year. So obviously this will have an impact on global prices and an impact on global markets," said Darin Friedrich, co-founder of Shanghai-based Sitonia Consulting.

Ma Wen Feng, a senior analyst at Beijing Orient Agribusiness Consultancy, told Reuters that the rains had affected most of the wheat-producing regions in central and southern China, not just Henan province.

He estimates that nearly 30 million tonnes of the expected harvest (138.8 million tonnes) has been affected, with some grain sprouted and unfit for human consumption and another part infected with Fusarium wilt, making the grain unfit for feed as well .

China is the largest producer and consumer of wheat in the world. According to the USDA, production is expected to be around 140 million tonnes and imports around 149 million tonnes in 2023-24. This equates to 17.7% of world production and 18.8% of world consumption.

The logical expectation is that any reduction in Chinese production will lead to a similar increase in imports, which will reflect on the price of wheat in the future.

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