Italy’s 10-Month Grain Import Bill Declines 17% on Wheat Drop

Italy’s grain-import bill fell 17 percent in the first 10 months of 2012 as the world’s second-biggest wheat buyer cut purchases of all cereals, the Associazione Nazionale Cerealisti said.

Grain and cereal-product imports fell to 8.59 million metric tons with a value of 2.53 billion euros ($3.4 billion) in the January-October period, from 10.8 million tons and 3.05 billion euros in the year-earlier period, the Rome-based industry group wrote in an e-mailed report today.

Italians ate an average 26 kilograms (57 pounds) of pasta per capita in 2011, about triple U.S. per-capita consumption, according to the International Pasta Organisation, which cites a survey dated October 2012. Italy imported more wheat in the 2011-12 crop year than any other country except Egypt, according to government figures and the International Grains Council.

Soft-wheat imports fell to 3.63 million tons with a price tag of 872 million euros in the 10 months from 4.48 million tons bought for 1.1 billion euros a year earlier, according to Anacer. Incoming shipments of durum wheat, the hard variety used for pasta, declined to 1.24 million tons and a value of 375 million euros, from 1.91 million tons and 536 million euros.

Corn imports dropped to 1.83 million tons from 2.15 million tons, and the value fell to 427 million euros from 504 million euros, according to Anacer.

Including spending on oilseed and protein-crop products, the value of Italy’s imports declined to 3.9 billion euros from 4.35 billion euros.

Italy’s 10-month cereal-industry exports amounted to 2.41 billion euros, against the year-earlier 2.39 billion euros, Anacer reported. Pasta exports rose to 1.41 billion euros from 1.37 billion euros. Italy is the world’s biggest maker of the foodstuff, according to the pasta organization.

The country’s grain-trade deficit shrunk to 1.49 billion euros from the year-earlier shortfall of 1.96 billion euros.

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