Australia exports 571,826t barley, 222,410t sorghum in July

Liz Wells, September 10, 2021

A thriving crop of barley at Boyup Brook in Western Australia. Photo: CSBP Fertilisers

AUSTRALIA exported 571,826 tonnes of barley and 222,410t of sorghum in July, according to the latest export data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The barley figure comprises 43,289t of malting, up 21 per cent from 35,680t shipped in June, while feed at 528,537t surged 42pc from 371,291t exported in June.

Mexico was the only destination to take a cargo of malting barley in July, while on feed,  Japan, followed by the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait were the three biggest customers, with Saudi Arabia and The Philippines also taking panamax cargoes.

July sorghum exports at 222,410t were up 31pc from 169,986t shipped in June, with China on 215,889t buying 97pc of July shipment.

Flexi Grain pool manager Sam Roache said July’s malting barley exports were supported by a return in Mexican demand.

“We have seen South and Central American demand right out into the new-crop year already, so we expect this business to continue to increase with the small and poor-quality Canadian harvest,” Mr Roache said.

“Given the higher base price for feed and assuming a normal quality profile, it will still be hard to see the grower malt spread maintain a long-term rally over $10-15/t plus without a Chinese re-entry.”

Despite feed barley shipments being sharply higher in July than in June, they underperformed on expected volume to Saudi Arabia.

“Considering this, we suggest that August could be a surprisingly big month to Saudi, as there was certainly some demand set out of Australia for the July-August period.

“In Asia, Philippines demand was large, with a potentially record 55,000t month, a great signal of continued Asian demand growth.

“Thailand was uncharacteristically small this month, but we are going through a shipment period where the market switched into cheap Black Sea feed wheat in the pressure before Ukraine and Russian harvest.

“The wheat market quickly recovered higher, sending demand back to barley from wheat-switching countries like Thailand, The Philipinnes and Vietnam, so we expect demand to re-emerge, if there is enough barley left.”

Mr Roache said the market had consistently seen barley shipments exceed expectations.

“We expect August to be larger than July, which is leading barley to a very tight carry-out across all zones.

“We expect to be running on fumes by the time the headers are in paddocks, especially in the southern states.”

Mr Roache said barley had a very different supply-and-demand scenario to wheat.

“It does not have the burdensome carryout in New South Wales, and therefore could trade very differently into 2022 than the broad expectation, especially in the event of a weather issue on the east coast over the next 12 months.”

New-crop feed barley business is said to be slow.

“Buyers are hanging back for Australian selling pressure, and Australian sellers are holding back for buyers to come into market.”

Mr Roache said Australia was clearly the cheapest origin in the world for generic barley for the November-December forward period.

“Aussie replacement is currently around $20-25/t below competing origins on a free-on-board basis.

“Australia enjoys a substantial freight advantage to around 30pc of its demand calculated on the last three months of shipment data.

“In general terms, we are even to slightly cheaper on freight costs versus Black Sea to the other 70pc of the demand we service, so we only need to be slightly cheaper in FOB terms to win the business.”

Sorghum appears well on track to reach 1 million tonnes expected in the current shipping year which started in autumn.

“We expect China to continue to take the vast majority of shipments until we run out, or there is political intervention.

“This situation with China should continue into the new-crop sorghum year and there is demand and scope to elevate more sorghum if we have the crop, especially in Central Queensland, where the supply chain has been under-utilised due to lower production of total crop.”


MALTING May June July Tonnes
Ecuador 5000 0 0 5000
Japan 750 750 0 1500
Mexico 0 0 38500 38500
Peru 53000 0 0 53000
Singapore 0 201 1628 1830
Thailand 1051 1765 1014 3830
Vietnam 4947 32964 2147 40058
TOTAL 64749 35680 43289 143717

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

FEED May June July Tonnes
Bahrain 0 44 0 44
Hong Kong 0 12 12 24
Indonesia 0 258 242 500
Iran 126487 0 0 126487
Iraq 0 64824 0 64824
Japan 40919 80030 164370 285319
Kuwait 102385 33571 84581 220537
Macau 5 0 0 5
Malaysia 265 265 0 529
New Caledonia 0 390 461 851
New Zealand 365 12760 780 13905
Oman 32790 0 0 32790
Papua New Guinea 0 0 25 25
Philippines 1572 622 55846 58040
Qatar 74500 23100 0 97600
Saudi Arabia 231904 27836 66000 325740
Singapore 3 265 828 1096
South Korea 883 403 799 2085
Taiwan 1668 569 2749 4986
Thailand 104351 58485 1809 164644
UAE 21890 8824 107988 138702
Vietnam 65558 59034 42046 166639
TOTAL 805545 371291 528537 1705373

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

SORGHUM May June July Tonnes
China 104754 98250 215889 418893
Japan 63 30618 583 31264
Kenya 0 35000 0 35000
Philippines 2167 820 3212 6199
Saudi Arabia 46 46 46 138
South Korea 24 0 0 24
Taiwan 2836 5125 2571 10531
UAE 0 0 110 110
Vietnam 2 127 0 129
TOTAL 109892 169986 222410 502288

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



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