AUSTRALIA exported 738,559 tonnes of barley and 136,816t of sorghum in March, according to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
Despite a lift in malting barley exports to 121,862t in March, the overall barley figure is down 11 per cent from 831,135t shipped in February due to reduced feed exports.
Cargoes to Vietnam, Mexico, Peru and Japan made up the bulk of the March malting figure, while on feed barley, Saudi Arabia on 412,175t accounted for almost half the reported tonnage.
Based on trade information, February shipments of barley to Canada and The Netherlands reported by ABS as feed have been transferred to malting.
On sorghum, China accounted for 97pc of March exports, which were up 110pc on February.
Bumper month for Saudi
Flexi Grain pool manager Sam Roache said the drop over the month in feed barley shipments of around 100,000t has mostly come from reduced sales to Japan and Jordan.
“They were both coming off very large Jan-Feb purchases.
“The Philippines was also notably lower, with the drop in barley imports expected and due to the large and cheaper relative feed wheat available from Australia.
“We expect Japan and Jordan to re-emerge and The Philippines, along with Thailand and Vietnam, to decline to minimal barley use and imports.”
On the other side of the ledger, March was a bumper month for feed barley exports to Saudi Arabia.
“Competition from the Black Sea really dropped away, and the task was completely left to Australia.
“We expect Australia’s dominance into Saudi to continue.
“Another notable is Iran, where we see our second cargo in 12 months, in line with long reported business.”
Overall export pace of feed barley is seen as strong, and Mr Roache estimates Australia is around halfway through its expected export program for 2021-22 (Oct-Sep).
“Global prices are higher straight out to new crop, and export margins are excellent.
“Demand for Australian barley remains good, with sales on all the way out to October already.
“We expect the program to remain strong right through to next harvest.”
Western Australia and New South Wales are carrying feed barley stocks, and are expected to export in this shipping year’s latter months.
“Victoria and South Australia are already tight, and should slow down quickly on exports post June-July.”
Malting exports steady
March malting barley exports were up slightly from February.
“Sales to the usual Japanese, Peruvian and Vietnamese homes saw a strong month.
“The unusual Canadian and Netherlands shipments we saw in February have not repeated, and could be a one-off due to the Canadian drought and quality problems, and the French malting shortage driven by Chinese demand.
“Malting premiums remain good and demand is there.
“Malting is tight in most zones and, like feed, should have a very good demand profile straight out to next harvest.”
New-crop sorghum arrives
Sorghum volumes ramped up in March as expected, with more harvest equalling more exports, and the Central Queensland (CQ) harvest to support later months.
“We should see April and May exports strong, and expect growth right through April to July as CQ production comes on line.”
Demand from China looks solid.
“We will likely add Japan as an export buyer further into the program too.
“We are seeing some new export capacity added in Brisbane, which is excellent for the market, and should allow traders and growers to capitalise on the excellent demand and export margins for all products.”
Table 1: Australian malting barley exports from October 2021 to March 2022. * Figures appear in ABS data as feed barley. Source: ABS and trade
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Table 2: Australian feed barley exports from October 2021 to March 2022. Based on trade information, Feb shipments to Canada and The Netherlands have been transferred to feed. Source: ABS and trade
Table 3: Australian sorghum exports from October 2021 to March 2022. Source: ABS
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