Morocco’s Wheat Imports Jump in March Under New Quotas

Private importers in Morocco increased their purchases of soft wheat in March to the maximum amount permitted by the government’s new “first come, first served” import quota system, as the outlook for the domestic crop, deteriorates in the months leading up to the May harvest. 

Wheat Import Rebates

According to the local silo and port data, Moroccan ports received 508,000 metric tonnes (MT) of soft wheat in March which represents the maximum value that is eligible for rebates under the new 500,000MT/month quota system of the Government. It is for the first time since October that Morocco has imported wheat at the same rate as local consumption (in a month, local millers in Morocco usually process around 450,000-500,000MT of wheat 

A full 1.5 million metric tonnes (MMT) of wheat allotted under government quotas is believed to have been reserved by Morocco’s private importers for arrival in March through May not long after an official revision to the rebate system was made public in early March. The majority, according to local market participants, will ship from France. The most recent Moroccan deals have not done much to support CPT Rouen prices in France’s internal spot market because it is reported that sellers at Rouen are already covered for more than three-quarters of the volume sold. 

The Moroccan government’s rebate program is currently scheduled to end on May 31 — one month later than originally anticipated — to give local wheat producers a chance to sell their products without being hindered by imported Wheat Suppliers. However, the government might be prompted to reinstate the system earlier than usual in the new June-May marketing year if the outlook for domestic crops worsens. Morocco is expected to receive little rain over the next two weeks, which is a crucial time for the nation’s May-harvested crop. 

Morocco’s Wheat Suppliers

With 300,000MT arriving in Morocco in March, France maintained its position as the top supplier despite growing competition from German vendors. German fob Rostock 11.5pc wheat was priced similarly to French 10.5pc wheat fob Rouen, according to market participants, with only a €1-2/MT ($1.1-2.2/MT) difference in freight costs between the two ports. 115,000MT of German wheat and 64,000MT from the Constanta port in Romania were imported by Morocco in March, the first shipments from this origin since July. 30,000 MT was also imported by Morocco from Polish ports. 

Additionally, the USDA predicts that Morocco will not be able to meet its import requirements for the current marketing year with April-May imports limited to a total of 1 MMT. Even after switching suppliers in 2022–2023 to make up for a nearly complete lack of Ukrainian and Argentinian supply, the nation will begin the upcoming marketing year with lower beginning stocks. 

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