If need be, Russia can find other markets to export its grain to instead of Turkey

17 march 2017 | RIA Novosti

Should Turkey impose a ban on imports of Russian wheat, Russia can always direct its exports to Africa and Asia instead. However, finding an alternative market for sunflower oil would be more challenging. Nevertheless, even there Russia too has some options, Analytical Center expert Elena Razumova told RIA Novosti.

Elena Razumova
Elena Razumova
Department for Expert Analytics

 "Turkey is the largest importer of our food stuffs, but with regards to wheat, we could expand sales to African countries, Bangladesh, Egypt and Syria. Cereal exports could be partially redirected to the EU," Ms. Razumova said in an interview for a RIA Novosti correspondent. "Finding an alternative for Turkey when it comes to sunflower oil exports would not be so easy because sunflower oil is not that popular in the rest of the world. However, Turkey re-exports some of the sunflower oil it buys from Russia to Middle Eastern countries such as Syria and Iraq, so theoretically we could try and access those markets directly, bypassing Turkey."

At the same time, Russia is a key supplier of those items for Turkey: when it comes to Turkish imports, the share of Russia for these items has remained unchanged in recent years, averaging 60-70%. However, while in 2014 Turkey got almost 78% of its total wheat imports from Russia, in 2016 the figure fell to just 60%.

"In natural terms, Turkey's imports of Russian wheat fell by almost 0.5 million tons while its wheat imports from other countries declined by an even greater 0.6 million tons. It has to be said, though, that almost all the decline was compensated for by an increase of imports from Lithuania, Mexico, Germany and a number of other countries," Ms. Razumova noted.