AUSTRALIA exported 61,308t of malting barley, 598,205t of feed barley and 119,944t of sorghum in November, according to the latest export data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
The malting figure is down 26 per cent from the October total to reflect the normal rundown in old-crop availability, while the feed total is up 71pc for the month.
The sorghum total is down 60pc from October to reflect dwindling supplies from the 2021 harvest.
Flexi Grain pool manager Sam Roache said November was a huge counter-seasonal month for total barley exports, with the largest numbers seen since May 2021.
“Malt barley continues to show consistency, with strong relative exports and South American destinations leading the way.
“Feed barley showed the larger Saudi numbers we have been waiting for, with their largest month since March, along with good demand to other Middle Eastern homes.”
“The biggest surprise came from The Philippines, which had its largest month of imports ever, and more than doubled its previous record.”
In November shipments, Mexico on 33,000t and Peru on 19,436t were the biggest markets by far, while on feed, Saudi Arabia was the destination for 317,955t, followed by The Philippines on 149,273t and Vietnam on 53,959t.
“Australian barley has been the cheapest origin in a tight global barley balance sheet, with tightness driven by huge and continuing Chinese demand, along with exploding Turkish demand this year.
“We are aware of significant Chinese new-crop Ukraine/French purchases in the last month.”
Competition from corn, feed wheat expected
Mr Roache said Australian barley has been a relatively cheap feedgrain, and has taken demand from both feed wheat and corn into Asia and the Middle East over the past two years.
“Feed wheat and corn have become more competitive recently, in part due to Australian downgrading, so we expect to lose the swinging demand into The Philippines and Vietnam to feed wheat ex Australia, and some Middle East demand to South American corn in the January forward timeframe.”
Mr Roache said solid demand from the Middle East and Japan is expected for Australian feed barley throughout the marketing year.
“In the back half of the year, a combination of competition from the Black Sea and dwindling stocks in all states bar Western Australia will slow our program down considerably, with elevation margins favouring other grains versus barley in Victoria and South Australia already.”
Saudi Arabian demand for Australian feed barley has been subdued recently, with importers there suggesting lower demand overall which makes them well covered.
“We expect them to be back before the Black Sea harvest timeframe despite this talk, so we should see some action in barley before the Northern Hemisphere harvest spoils our party for the remainder of the year.”
Sorghum shipments slow
Export numbers have started to dwindle on sorghum, with limited stocks available in the face of insatiable demand from China.
“Again, the size of the shipping month implies a slightly larger old-crop production, but we are starting to see the end of the program before shipments pick up in the February forward period with new crop.”
Table 1: Australian malting barley exports for September, October and November 2021. Source: ABS
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Table 2: Australian feed barley exports for September, October and November 2021. Source: ABS
Table 3: Australian sorghum exports for September, October and November 2021. Source: ABS