Markets

Australia exports 961,924t barley, 78,754t sorghum in Dec

Liz Wells, February 7, 2022

Outloading barley in the Port Adelaide zone in late November. Photo: James Stacey

AUSTRALIA exported 19,199 tonnes of malting barley, 942,725t of feed barley and 78,574t of sorghum in December 2021, according to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The malting figure was down 68 per cent from the November total of 60,431t to reflect the rundown on old-crop stocks, while the feed figure surged 58pc from the November total to reflect new-crop availability primarily out of Western Australia and South Australia.

Sorghum exports in December fell 32pc from the November total of 116,400t, again due to a rundown in stocks ahead of the harvest which has gotten under way in recent weeks.

Flexi Grain pool manager Sam Roache said December barley exports marked a return to the big numbers seen early in the 2020-21 (Oct-Sep) marketing year.

“It was the largest export month since March 2021, and it was posted in December rather than November because of the softer finish and delayed harvest.”

The jump in feed barley exports more than compensated for the drop in malting month on month.

The reduced malting tonnage was reflecting uncertainty around barley quality after the rain-affected harvest in eastern Australia as well as dwindling old-crop stocks.

“This is not a flag on malt demand for subsequent months and we expect to see numbers recover in the January-forward period.”

On feed, Mr Roache said all the usual demand was evident in the December figures.

Saudi on 296,130t was the biggest feed market by far, followed by Japan on 160,070t and Vietnam on 71,759t, while Jordan, Qatar, Thailand and The Philippines each took 60,000-70,000t.

“Jordanian demand returned to Australia after a long hiatus, with the first of many cargoes we have seen sold in tenders shipped in December.

“This is a great measure of how competitive we have been versus Black Sea.

Thailand also returned as a volume buyer for the first time since June.

“Thailand feed has been very quiet generally, so we don’t expect barley shipments to explode.”

Mr Roache said demand from the Middle East, and Saudi Arabia in particular, as well as Japan, is expected to stay strong.

“Other demand into Asia, including The Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand, will likely see declines in barley, with demand switching to more competitive feed wheat.”

Reports in the past week have stated that the Chinese Government has broadly approved imports of barley and wheat from Russia.

“In the current environment for barley, where Australia is more or less excluded for Chinese execution, this is likely a supportive environment for Australian barley.

“It reduces the influence of Australia’s largest competitor into the Middle East, and Russia will be less likely to compete hard there if China as a higher-priced market is as an option.”

“At the same time, this opens up the Chinese market to a larger volume of potential imports of barley, allowing China imports to grow and service the seemingly insatiable appetite for feed grains.

“Notably for wheat, the Russian news is bearish if anything, opening up our likely largest export market to more competition.”

On sorghum, the December figure shows another drop since the October peak of 278,813t in the 2021-22 (Apr-Mar) shipping year, and indicates supply chains have switched to more lucrative new-crop wheat exports.

“China was the only sizeable destination, which will continue for the foreseeable future, or until we see policy change there.”

Mr Roache said sorghum exports are expected to pick from March to August to reflect harvest availability.

“Elevation margins are likely better than wheat, so it will get access to stem and go out the door quickly as long as China purchasers are unrestricted.”

MALTING Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Tonnes
Ecuador 0 7000 13000 0 0 0 20000
Ethiopia 0 0 0 50776 0 0 50776
Indonesia 0 0 258 232 278 0 768
Japan 0 0 1501 750 750 2002 5003
Mexico 38500 33740 0 0 33000 0 105240
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 100 100
Peru 0 23000 13000 0 19436 9987 65423
Philippines 0 0 0 187 880 639 1706
Singapore 1628 1759 1793 3880 3562 2939 15561
Thailand 1014 1977 1112 2233 649 3026 10011
Vietnam 2147 911 2066 0 1876 506 7506
TOTAL 43289 68387 32729 58058 60431 19199 282093

Table 1: Australian malting barley exports for July to December 2021. Source: ABS

FEED Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Tonnes
Ecuador 0 0 0 0 7100 6847 13947
Hong Kong (SAR of China) 12 0 0 12 0 0 24
India 0 0 473 0 435 0 908
Indonesia 242 402 0 0 0 0 644
Iran 0 66000 0 0 0 0 66000
Japan 164370 167113 38310 137595 120 160070 667578
Jordan 0 0 0 0 0 63000 63000
Kuwait 84581 0 90676 0 40500 41233 256990
Macau 0 0 0 1 0 4 5
Malaysia 0 0 0 529 0 196 725
Mexico 0 30750 30000 0 0 31576 92326
New Caledonia 461 360 699 528 271 195 2514
New Zealand 780 14777 5843 0 0 5800 27200
Oman 0 26913 36920 10000 0 24767 98600
Papua New Guinea 25 25 25 100 100 100 375
Philippines 55846 29688 7687 13615 148727 68912 324475
Qatar 0 19253 55125 50000 0 60050 184428
Saudi Arabia 66000 142117 131557 134234 317955 296130 1087993
Singapore 828 659 367 549 250 3 2656
South Korea 604 883 888 300 1105 16889 20669
Spain 0 0 0 0 4 0 4
Taiwan 2749 1607 2271 2316 3148 4857 16948
Thailand 1309 2240 0 0 0 66137 69686
UAE 107988 0 57571 6279 23651 24200 219688
Vietnam 41115 82641 52357 9355 53129 71759 310356
TOTAL 526910 585428 510768 365413 596495 942725 3527739

Table 2: Australian feed barley exports for July to December 2021. Source: ABS

SORGHUM Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Tonnes
China 210628 126075 158066 229487 112842 77635 914733
Japan 583 97 42186 44085 105 0 87056
Kenya 0 0 22000 0 0 0 22000
Malaysia 0 0 0 0 24 0 24
Philippines 2137 3655 2950 1713 1405 939 12799
Saudi Arabia 46 0 46 0 0 0 92
South Korea 0 0 0 24 24 0 48
Taiwan 2371 2299 5125 3504 2000 0 15299
Vietnam 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TOTAL 215765 132126 230373 278813 116400 78574 1052051

Table 3: Australian sorghum exports for July to December 2021. Source: ABS

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