AUSTRALIA exported 808,285 tonnes of feed barley in May, up 32 per cent from 610,758t shipped in April, according to the latest export data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
Malting barley exports in May dipped to 66,019t, down 11pc from the 74,068t shipped in April, and the sorghum volume also waned over May to 123,424t, down 16pc from 146,764t in April.
Flexi Grain pool manager Sam Roache said May showed another strong month of demand for feed barley, with a continuation of business to Middle East and Asian destinations.
“The much-rumoured Iranian barley business has finally shown up on the numbers, with more cargo a possibility considering price spreads and the tight old-crop market in Germany,” Mr Roache said.
“Iran is a premium destination due to financing and execution limitations from certain countries, with the bulk of the Panamax-size execution usually loaded ex Germany.
“Iran hasn’t featured in bulk size ex Australia since 2016 and was sporadic at best before that.”
May shipments to Saudi Arabia have come in on the low side due to limited buying in April-May which followed a stocking up in the first quarter prior to the kingdom’s change to private-enterprise importing.
“We expect Saudi numbers to improve for June-July and have business on the books until September at least, with smaller volumes expected as Australia runs out of stocks.”
Sales to other Middle East destinations remained strong, and included a record month to Kuwait.
“Overall demand shows that Australian barley has been cheap relative to other options, but also that barley remains cheap overall versus the global corn market and other feedgrain options.
“This is true in Asia, the Middle East and locally in the feed rations of exporting countries.
“As we come to the end of the season, we expect Australian volumes to drop off as we run out of stock and become uncompetitive into export demand.
“We are seeing Black Sea new-crop barley ex Romania and Russia displace Australian barley into the Middle East, and Asian markets are beginning to move to cheaper South American corn and Black Sea new-crop feed wheat.
“We note approximately 95pc of the export expectation we have for the season already shipped or on the stem, with a slow month in June, before a recovery in July and running to fairly low numbers in August and September as we finish off the program.”
Flexi Grain has Australia running to very tight carryout stocks, close to the last 2 seasons when the market was obviously tight and around 30pc below the five-year average carry-out stocks.
Table 1: Australian malting barley exports in March, April and May 2021. Source: ABS
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Table 2: Australian feed barley exports in March, April and May 2021. Source: ABS
Table 3: Australian sorghum exports in March, April and May 2021. Source: ABS
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