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Trade is facing new challenges

Търговията среща нови предизвикателства

In response to the recent attacks on cargo ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, the International Grains Council (IGC) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) jointly released information from their dashboard, revealing significant changes in international maritime wheat trade flows.

The data showed a decline in overall volumes of grain and oilseeds transiting the Suez Canal, with companies increasingly diverting cargo through South Africa or alternative routes.

The dashboard highlights a decline in total grain and oilseed shipments through the Suez Canal, falling from 7.2 million tonnes in November 2023 to 5.9 million tonnes in December.

This decline was due to a decline in soybean supplies in the US, influenced by seasonal factors and unfavorable weather conditions in some Black Sea ports. December volume was roughly a fifth lower year-on-year and 15% below the three-year average.

January saw a steeper decline in Suez Canal transit totaling around 0.9 million tonnes, a three-fold year-on-year decrease and 63% below the three-year average for the period.

The initial impact on wheat was somewhat muted in December 2023, with Suez Canal transits up 0.2 million tonnes from the previous month to reach 2.6 million tonnes, 16% above the three-year average. However, flows contracted in the first half of January, estimated at 0.5 million tonnes, almost 40% less year-on-year and a quarter below average.

For wheat supplies from the EU, Russia and Ukraine to selected Asian countries and East Africa, usually via the Suez Canal, total December deliveries of 2.4 million tonnes were broadly in line with last season.

Individual exporters saw changes in shipping routes, with alternative EU route shipments totaling 330,000 tonnes, mainly from France, Romania, Lithuania and Latvia.

In the case of the Russian Federation, some 190,000 tonnes were diverted via alternative routes during the same period, compared to zero a year ago.

It should be noted that all shipments from Ukraine to the specified Asian and East African countries continued to transit through the Suez Canal in December and January.

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