The Agricultural Markets Advisory Group (GCMA) reported that by the end of 2022, Mexico’s imports of basic grains and oilseeds closed with a total cost of US$17.7 billion, the largest expense registered since 1993.
According to GCMA, the US$17.7 billion that accounted for products including corn, beans, wheat, soybeans, rice and oils, among other imports, equaled a 17.6% rise compared to the US$15 billion spent in 2021. However, in terms of volume, Mexico imported 38 million tonnes of grains in 2022, 1.5% less than the 38.7 million t purchased in 2021. The 17.6% increase in value is therefore directly related to high prices and not caused by a greater volume in purchases.
Analysts stressed that inflation in food products is a direct consequence of the war between Ukraine and Russia. Ukraine is one of the world’s main grain producers but the armed conflict has destroyed its supply chain.
During 2022, approximately one in three dollars spent abroad on grains and oilseeds was spent on corn. Of the total US$17.7 billion, US$5.58 billion was destined to import corn from the US, mainly transgenic yellow corn. Moreover, the Food and Fisheries Information Service (SIAP) reported that throughout October 2022, white corn imports grew from 25,000t in September to 41,000t.
The amount spent on corn represents an increase of 11% compared with the US$5 billion spent in 2021. The GCMA explained that this is due to an uptick in international grain prices since there was a fall of 4.2% in volume at the end of 2022. Likewise, data shows that wheat imports had an annual decline of 4.2% in volume and an increase of 24.6% in value. Meanwhile, rice purchases in 2022 expanded by 28.5% in volume, resulting in a 31.3% rise in value.
Moreover, 2022’s soybean imports accounted for 6.6 million tonnes, growing 3.5% in volume and 21.7% in value. Bean purchases declined 54.4% in volume and 42.6% in value, as a consequence of Mexico’s growing domestic production.
Other important increases in the value of imports include 50% for oils, which reached US$1.44 billion, 26% for cotton with US$501 million, 23% for wheat, which totaled US$1.9 billion, and 21% for oats reaching US$79 million.