Australia barley exports up 16pc in August, sorghum down

Liz Wells, October 11, 2021

GrainCorp’s site at Capella in Central Queensland had received 40,000t by late July.  China has been the destination for most sorghum delivered to bulk handlers in NSW and Queensland. Photo: GrainCorp

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.”

MALTING June July August Tonnes
Ecuador 0 0 7000 7000
Japan 750 0 0 750
Mexico 0 38500 33740 72240
Peru 0 0 23000 23000
Singapore 201 1628 1759 3589
Thailand 1765 1014 3110 5889
Vietnam 32964 2147 1717 36827
TOTAL 35680 43289 70326 149295

Table 1: Australian malting barley exports for June, July and August 2021. Source: ABS

FEED June July August Tonnes
Bahrain 44 0 0 44
Hong Kong 12 12 0 24
Indonesia 258 242 402 902
Iran 0 0 66000 66000
Iraq 64824 0 0 64824
Japan 80030 164370 167113 411514
Kuwait 33571 84581 0 118152
Malaysia 265 0 0 265
Mexico 0 0 30750 30750
New Caledonia 390 461 360 1211
New Zealand 12760 780 14777 28317
Oman 0 0 26913 26913
Papua New Guinea 0 25 25 50
Philippines 622 55846 31211 87678
Qatar 23100 0 19253 42353
Saudi Arabia 27836 66000 142117 235953
Singapore 265 828 659 1752
South Korea 403 604 883 1891
Taiwan 569 2749 1924 5242
Thailand 58485 1309 2240 62033
UAE 8824 107988 0 116812
Vietnam 59034 41115 84240 184389
TOTAL 371291 526911 588865 1487067

Table 2: Australian feed barley exports for June, July and August 2021. Source: ABS

SORGHUM June July August Tonnes
China 98499 210628 140414 449541
Japan 30618 583 97 31298
Kenya 35000 0 0 35000
Malaysia 0 0 23 23
Philippines 820 2330 4247 7397
Saudi Arabia 46 46 0 92
Taiwan 4876 2371 2799 10046
Vietnam 127 0 0 127
TOTAL 169986 215958 147580 533524

Table 3: Australian sorghum exports for June, July and August 2021. Source: ABS





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