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Italy's 11-Month Grain Bill Falls on Wheat, Corn Decline

Italy’s cereal imports fell 17 percent in the first 11 months of 2012 on lower purchases of wheat and corn, cutting the country’s grain-import bill, industry group Associazione Nazionale Cerealisti said.

Grain and cereal-product imports fell to 9.77 million metric tons with a value of 2.89 billion euros ($3.9 billion) from January through to November, from 11.8 million tons and 3.34 billion euros in the year-earlier period, the Rome-based group wrote in an e-mailed report today.

Italy is Europe’s largest wheat importer, trade data show. 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.

Soft-wheat imports fell to 3.95 million tons with a price tag of 965 million euros in the period, from 4.79 million tons bought for 1.17 billion euros a year earlier, Anacer reported. Buying of durum wheat, the hard variety used for pasta, fell to 1.41 million tons worth 426 million euros, from 2.11 million tons and 597 million euros.

Corn-import volume declined to 2.26 million tons from 2.42 million tons, while the value fell to 538 million euros from 560 million euros, according to Anacer.

Including spending on oilseed and protein-crop products, the value of Italy’s imports dropped to 4.38 billion euros from 4.76 billion euros.

Italy’s 11-month cereal-industry exports amounted to 2.68 billion euros from 2.66 billion euros a year earlier, Anacer reported. Pasta exports rose to 1.5 billion euros from 1.38 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 1.7 billion euros from the year-earlier shortfall of 2.1 billion euros.

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