AUSTRALIA exported 659,191 tonnes of barley in August, up 16 per cent from 570,200t shipped in July, according to the latest export data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
Malting exports in August totalled 70,326t, with Mexico on 33,740t and Peru with 23,000t the biggest markets, followed by Ecuador on 7000t.
Japan is continuing its run of recent months as Australia’s highest-volume destination for feed barley, with 167,113t in August out of the monthly total of 588,865t.
Saudi Arabia on 142,117t followed by Vietnam 84,240t were the second and third-biggest markets respectively for feed.
Flexi Grain pool manager Sam Roache said the rebound in August volumes happened as expected, including the anticipated uptick in Saudi feed barley shipments and the return of Iran as a destination.
Malting exports were again strong, with Mexico, Peru and Ecuador pointing to continued demand in South and Central America.
“We expect malt demand to continue to strengthen into the new-crop timeframe and note local malt bids and spreads are creeping higher.
Sep, Oct and First Half Nov Barley volumes should grind lower, as we tighten to historically tight carry out stocks and the market waits for new crop.
Looking at forward demand, Mr Roache said Australian barley was calculating “very competitively to all demand south of the Suez Canal”.
“That’s exemplified best by an unusual Australian sale into a recent Jordan barley tender.
“With international demand not expected to be an issue, the threat to the local barley market is export stem availability versus wheat and canola exports, both of which have had better early demand and stronger elevation margins than barley.
“This lack of export capacity can lead to a lack of local demand to fill export sales, despite the Saudi Arabians and other international buyers needing to buy.”
Australian exports of sorghum have continued out of Queensland and New South Wales, and China was the destination for 140,414t, or 95pc, of the 147,580t shipped in total in August.
Sorghum shipments for August were down 32pc from the 215,958t shipped in the previous month to reflect the rundown on stocks from the crop harvested largely from March to July.
China continues to be Australia’s highest-value destination and major sorghum importer.
“Its percentage of total shipments is only increasing as we run down our total stocks.
As with corn and Barley, recent Chinese demand has slowed a little.
“In reality, they have already purchased everything we and most other suppliers have to give on sorghum.
“Australia is close to exporting our full estimate of just over 1 million tonnes already, and we expect shipment pace to slow considerably in the current quarter.”
Mr Roache said bulk sorghum exports are expected to be displaced on shipping stems by exports of high-protein wheat, which will take most of the terminal capacity in Queensland and the NSW port of Newcastle.
“Going forward, and based on global availability and Chinese demand and prices, we expect China to continue as our major export destination.
“China prices will continue to out-compete local stockfeed and other large export buyers, like Japan.
“The only real risk to this flow is political and, as with other commodities, that’s an entirely different discussion.”
Table 1: Australian malting barley exports for June, July and August 2021. Source: ABS
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Table 2: Australian feed barley exports for June, July and August 2021. Source: ABS
Table 3: Australian sorghum exports for June, July and August 2021. Source: ABS
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