War in Ukraine: the impact on Italian pasta exports

In 2021, Russian wheat accounted for less than 1% of the total needs of Italian companies

At the moment the war in Ukraine does not affect the production of Italian pasta, and it does not directly impact prices. This is what the industrial pasta makers of the association Unione Italiana Food say, pointing out that no durum wheat was imported from Ukraine in 2021. The durum wheat coming from Russia in the same period is less than 3% of Italy’s total imports and less than 1% of the total needs of pasta industries.

However, Ukraine is a major producer and exporter of soft wheat. “Confusion about these two raw materials – says Luigi Cristiano Laurenza, Secretary of Italian pasta makers of Unione Italiana Foodhas led to a flow of contradictory information in recent days. It is, therefore, necessary to clarify, in order not to spread concern and unjustified alarms among consumers”.

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Some other commodities such as corn and soybeans are affected by the war in addition to soft wheat. “In a global economy, the fluctuations of one commodity’s price inevitably drag the others along. This is why we cannot exclude that the conflict may also have indirect effects on pasta,” says Laurenza.

The Italian pasta sector counts 120 companies employing over 10,000 people and is going through an unprecedented crisis. The price of durum wheat has been stable for a few weeks now, but in the last year it has increased +80% due to the combined effect of climate change, international speculation, and the race to accumulate essential goods by some states.

Not to mention that in the last six months the rising raw materials prices have been accompanied by increases in the cost of energy (with inflation of over +28% in the EU since the beginning of 2022), oil (at its highest since 2014), and packaging materials.

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