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 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.”
Table 1: Australian malting barley exports for December 2021 and January and February 2022. Source: ABS
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Table 2: Australian feed barley exports for December 2021 and January and February 2022. Source: ABS
Table 3: Australian sorghum exports for December 2021 and January and February 2022. Source: ABS
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