(Yicai Global) March 3 -- Though China announced last month that it would allow imports of Russian wheat, the amount remains to be seen, according to industry insiders. More than 80 percent of the country’s imports of the cereal came from Australia, the United States, and Canada last year.
China is not dependent on wheat imports, which made up just 7.1 percent of its
137 million tons of production in 2021, according to official data. Last year’s imports jumped 16.6 percent to a record high of 9.77 million tons.
Australia supplied 28 percent of that, the US 27.9 percent, and Canada 26 percent, an agricultural expert said. Russia accounted for just 0.5 percent and none came from Ukraine.
Russia has been the world’s largest wheat exporter since 2017, overtaking the US and the European Union. Last year, Russia and Ukraine accounted for 29 percent of global wheat exports.
China buys most of its imported wheat from Australia, the US, and Canada because the quality of their crop is better than that grown in the Black Sea region, which can be affected by the dwarf bunt fungi, said Lin Zhanjiang, a wheat importer, adding that it is also not cost-effective to bring wheat in from eastern Europe.
China needs to diversify its sources to prevent over-reliance on a handful of nations for wheat imports, according to a study by Zhao Xia and Han Yijun, two academics at the College of Economics and Management of China Agricultural University.
Canada has accounted for more than half of China’s wheat imports for many years because of price and quality, Zhao and Han said. But the close relationship that exists between Canada and the United States, could lead to a relatively high risk.
Editor: Kim Taylor