World Grain International Buyers Guide - 2024 - 6

BUYERS GUIDE | FROM THE EDITOR
EDITORIAL STAFF
Editor
Troublesome trends
continue
T
his decade, which thus far has
been defined by chaos and conflict,
continued down an unstable path
in 2023. The global grain industry has
been under strain from this instability that
includes expanding military conflicts and
political tensions, rising protectionism,
shifting trade patterns, and climate change.
The story of the year, at least from a grain
industry standpoint, was Russia's decision
in July to pull out of the Black Sea Grain
Initiative with Ukraine, a country it invaded
in February 2022 and continues to wage
war against. Not only did it reinstate its
blockade of Ukraine's Black Sea ports, but
it began bombing grain assets all over the
country, leaving one of the world's top corn
and wheat exporters with limited avenues
for shipping its grain to other countries.
Critics have rightfully accused Russia
of weaponizing food at a time when global
food insecurity is at a peak. Russia has
vowed to ship a large amount of its recent
bumper grain harvest to import-dependent
countries in Africa and Asia at a discounted
price. But with world ending stocks for
coarse grains at a nine-year low, according
to the International Grains Council, crippling
one of the world's biggest grain exporters
is a heinous act.
Politics also heavily influenced global
trade over the past year, with political allies
China and Russia signing a deal that will
increase grain trade between the two countries
over the next 10 years. China also continued
to increase its imports of Brazilian
soybeans and corn in 2023, while reducing
its reliance on shipments from the United
States, its political adversary.
In a move that demonstrates its commitment
to increasing its food security as
well as concern about the impact of climate
change on grain production, China began
moving toward commercialization of genetically
modified corn and soybeans this
past year. It also continued to strengthen
ties with South America and Africa to fortify
its grain supply.
While trade flows continued to shift, a
6
number of countries implemented export
bans or tariffs to try to tame food inflation.
Most notably, India, the world's second
largest wheat producer and largest rice exporter,
severely limited shipments of those
food grains in 2023.
From a mergers and acquisition standpoint,
Bunge made the biggest splash in
2023 by announcing plans to acquire Viterra,
one of the largest grain traders in the
world. When the deal is completed, Bunge
will no longer be the smallest of the socalled
" ABCD " (ADM, Bunge, Cargill and
Louis Dreyfus) global agribusiness companies.
Based on the combined 2022 revenue
of the two companies, Bunge would push
past Louis Dreyfus and draw closer to Cargill
and ADM. What a remarkable development
for a company that five years ago was
viewed as a takeover target.
Looking ahead to 2024, with wars raging
in the Middle East and Ukraine and the
global economy unsettled, the global grain
industry will continue to deal with unique
and significant challenges. The hope is that
cooler heads will prevail among the warring
nations, countries currently practicing
protectionism will loosen the reins on free
trade, solutions will continue to be developed
to increase crop production amid climate
change, and that the troubling rise in
food insecurity will reverse course. After
three straight years of unthinkable turmoil,
stability, peace and prosperity are what the
world needs more than ever in 2024.
Managing Editor
Associate Editor
Digital Media Senior Editor
European Correspondent
China Consultant
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World Grain International Buyers Guide - 2024

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of World Grain International Buyers Guide - 2024

World Grain International Buyers Guide - 2024 - Intro
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