Markets

Australian Feb barley, sorghum exports up

Liz Wells, April 13, 2022

The quality and availability of Australia’s 2021-22 malting barley is putting it into new and revisited export markets. Photo: InterGrain

AUSTRALIA exported 38,887 tonnes of malting barley, 796,193t of feed barley and 89,626t of sorghum in February, according to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The malting figure is down 47 per cent from the 73,447t exported in January, while feed barley exports are up 46pc from the 545,956t shipped in January.

The sorghum figure is close to quadruple the 23,894t exported in January, and indicates the arrival of new-crop sorghum shipped primarily in bulk and containers out of Brisbane.

Flexi Grain pool manager Sam Roache said the February figure for feed barley has rebounded from the disappointing January figure.

“All the usual destinations were in, with Saudi Arabia leading, followed by Japan and Jordan, and Jordan solidifying its place as a new major buyer for Australia.

“Other Middle East buyers were also strong, with demand quite robust in the face of high corn prices.”

Mr Roache said The Philippines figure was a surprise in the February numbers, and has come despite the abundance of feed wheat available to that market.

“The Philippines’ purchase of around 118,000t is its largest since November, and sticks out versus Vietnam and Thailand, where shipments are low, and barley demand is clearly sluggish in the face of feed-wheat shipments.”

Cargoes to Canada, Netherlands

Malting barley shipments were slow on the face of it, being almost half the January figure, and around 20pc below the monthly average for the past nine month as indicated by ABS figures.

However, Mr Roache and others in the trade expect the cargoes to Canada and Netherlands which appear as feed barley shipments were in fact malting barley.

Both shipments indicate the paucity of malting barley available in the Northern Hemisphere as its current-crop months run down, and the quality and attractive pricing of Australian product.

“This business was reported in October-November and is now being shipped, which is confirmation enough.

“This change sees malting barley shipments at more than 100,000t and by far the largest for more than 12 months, a notion supported by strong malt spreads for the majority of this season.”

While Europe has in past years bought malting barley in bulk from Australia, trade sources say Australia has never shipped a cargo of it to Canada before.

Sorghum rebounds

Sorghum volumes rebound as new crop becomes available, with China there to buy it all and maintain its 90pc-plus market share.

“We expect to see volumes continue to increase into March, April and May as more crop comes off, but this may be hampered by wet-weather delays for harvest and logistics, along with quality problems.”

“As it stands today, China will continue to buy the majority, and only political intervention will change this dynamic.”

MALTING Dec Jan Feb Tonnes
Japan 2002 750 250 3002
Mexico 0 33000 30299 63299
New Zealand 100 0 0 100
Peru 9987 0 0 9987
Philippines 639 220 1744 2603
Singapore 2739 2392 4131 9262
Thailand 2586 3704 2040 8330
Vietnam 506 33381 423 34310
TOTAL 18559 73447 38887 130893

Table 1: Australian malting barley exports for December 2021 and January and February 2022. Source: ABS

FEED Dec Jan Feb Tonnes
Canada 0 0 33000 33000
Ecuador 6847 0 0 6847
Hong Kong 0 12 0 12
India 0 495 0 495
Japan 160070 0 169828 329898
Jordan 63000 126000 134000 323000
Kuwait 41233 40500 45484 127217
Macau 4 0 0 4
Malaysia 196 0 224 420
Mexico 31576 0 0 31576
Myanmar 0 0 492 492
Netherlands 0 0 41749 41749
New Caledonia 195 192 194 581
New Zealand 5800 5000 0 10800
Oman 24767 0 0 24767
Papua New Guinea 100 0 25 125
Philippines 68834 11258 118449 198541
Qatar 60050 57000 0 117050
Saudi Arabia 296130 229105 192000 717235
Singapore 3 608 0 611
South Korea 16889 872 1445 19206
Taiwan 4357 4757 5033 14147
Thailand 66137 0 22930 89067
UAE 24200 57829 19950 101979
Vietnam 67907 12328 11390 91625
TOTAL 938295 545956 796193 2280444

Table 2: Australian feed barley exports for December 2021 and January and February 2022. Source: ABS

SORGHUM Dec Jan Feb Tonnes
China 72842 21957 86456 181255
Japan 0 64 73 137
Philippines 939 1480 1672 4091
Taiwan 0 393 1425 1818
TOTAL 73781 23894 89626 187301

Table 3: Australian sorghum exports for December 2021 and January and February 2022. Source: ABS

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