Australia exports 955,751t barley, 60,604t Feb sorghum

Liz Wells April 19, 2023

South Australian crops are performing well, including this barley crop in Loxton. Photo: Sean Matthewson

AUSTRALIA exported 955,751 tonnes of barley and 60,604t of sorghum in February, according to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Of the 41,896t of malting barley shipped in February, Mexico with 63,000t was the destination for almost half, with Vietnam on 4762t the second-biggest market and Singapore on 3370t the third.

Australia shipped 913,855t of feed barley in February, with 277,500t of it bound for Saudi Arabia, and Japan on 150,305t the second-biggest market, followed by Thailand on 129,379t.

China on sorghum was the largest market for February-shipped sorghum with 56,549t, with Taiwan on 2790t the second-biggest market, and The Philippines with 1100t the third.

“As expected, barley exports saw a good recovery on volumes month on month, notching up our second-largest month for the year,” Flexi Grain pool manager Sam Roache said.

“Volumes were supported by a recovery in Saudi shipments, along with a big month for Japan, Vietnam, Jordan and Kuwait.

“Thailand was probably the most notable, with the around 130,000t being its largest month of shipments in years.”

Mr Roache said this showed barley’s relative value has dropped to the level where it is promoting marginal demand versus both corn and feed wheat in Asia.

“This goes against the notion that barley has been lacking in demand; barley shipments are well on track to meet our targets for the season with the current scenario.

On malting, Mr Roache said the market was likely to see significant change in the near term.

“The China tariff issue on the way to resolution and Australian access to the largest barley-consumption market in the world likely to re open at some stage.

“A tariff free re-entry into the China market would Australia able to sell feed barley into a significantly higher-priced market, which would lead to higher local prices and a spike in export margins.

The Chinese feed barley market is currently trading at a premium of around $US30/t to both other Asian markets and Saudi/Middle East demand.

“Importantly, China already has a large forward purchase book on for feed barley imports and on much of this business Australia is able to be shipped, so once the tariff is removed, Australian barley is very likely to be shipped on current barley sales contracts.”

Opportunities for full-spec malt and FAQ off-spec malt are also expected to re-emerge, as will the significant container demand for barley into China.

“There is some technicality to China execution and we will likely see some new management and segregation requirements, especially for in-crop glyphosate treatment.

“The price increases should make the extra work worth it.

“Locally we will see barley price move higher as positive news continues and more certainty is there.

“It is likely that feed barley will become less competitive into local feed rations in favour of more exports, switching more domestic activity to wheat.

“Over time, we should see Australian barley acres start to grow again due to better relative pricing.

Mr Roache said European prices for barley have dropped in expectation of Australian access.

“This will continue, with their highest-priced market in China sure to revert to Australia with a favourable ruling.

“The huge premiums should also come out of Canadian and Argentinian barley as they roll into their new-crop periods and find Chinese demand has dropped in favour of Australia.

“Outside Australia, barley acres should fall over time due to lower relative prices and it is likely that barley drops to relative prices that increase domestic demand and reduces exports, especially in Europe.”

MALTING Dec Jan Feb Tonnes
Mexico 0 33000 30000 63000
New Zealand 0 1193 1596 2789
Philippines 1660 650 1070 3380
Singapore 4883 5536 3370 13789
South Africa 15000 987 0 15987
South Korea 0 11027 660 11687
Thailand 0 0 440 440
Vietnam 436 3317 4762 8515
TOTAL 21979 55711 41896 119587

Table 1: Australian feed barley exports for December 2022 and January and February 2023. Source: ABS

FEED Dec Jan Feb Tonnes
Hong Kong 0 12 12 24
Iran 64305 0 0 64305
Japan 178339 32717 150305 361361
Jordan 0 91280 82500 173780
Kuwait 41896 41526 76683 160105
Malaysia 0 192 0 192
New Caledonia 605 266 303 1175
New Zealand 9113 0 0 9113
Oman 19269 0 0 19269
Papua New Guinea 50 0 0 50
Philippines 25937 56332 79278 161546
Qatar 60500 0 0 60500
Saudi Arabia 534716 115219 277500 927434
Singapore 0 0 2 2
South Korea 34030 1050 677 35757
Taiwan 7350 1200 1107 9658
Thailand 1248 51600 129379 182227
UAE 52230 24474 5035 81738
Vietnam 30708 1063 111073 142845
TOTAL 1060295 416932 913855 2391082

Table 2: Australian feed barley exports for December 2022 and January and February 2023. Source: ABS. NOTE: Original figures indicated 66,000t shipped to China in February. This has been confirmed as a coding error.

SORGHUM Dec Jan Feb Tonnes
China 42761 13547 56549 112857
Japan 0 31564 66 31630
Philippines 1144 900 1100 3144
South Korea 65 50 0 115
Taiwan 874 374 2790 4038
Vietnam 0 0 100 100
TOTAL 44844 46436 60604 151884

Table 3: Australian sorghum exports for December 2022 and January and February 2023. Source: ABS


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