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Australia’s May chickpea exports drop 37pc to 43,856t

by Liz Wells, 12 July 2018

AUSTRALIA exported 43,856 tonnes of chickpeas in May, down 37 per cent from the April figure of 69,103t, according to the latest data available from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Chickpea snacks being sold in Karachi, Pakistan. Photo: Purvi Thacker

The drop reflects a rundown on Australia’s export surplus, and a continued absence of demand from what has traditionally been its biggest market, India.

In line with trade expectations, Pakistan was Australia’s biggest chickpea importer in May.

COFCO chickpea trader, Rob Brealey, said Pakistan was buying Australian chickpeas as needed to cover the domestic shortfall in its own production, and this demand was absorbing much of the available tonnage as the market moved towards the new-crop year.

While last year’s Australian chickpea crop was around half the size of the record 2016 production, Mr Brealey said unpriced 2017 tonnage was still making its way to market, indicating yields and area may have been greater than estimated at harvest.

“The tail’s a little longer than first thought,” Mr Brealey said.

Bangladesh is expected to show minimal interest in Australian chickpeas for the remainder of the year, and Mr Brealey said a rise in the domestic price of Indian chickpeas still had its market “hundreds of dollars” below import parity.

Australian chickpeas for prompt delivery to Darling Downs packers are currently trading at below $630 per tonne.

“The market’s off a bit at the moment, and it’s been moving around on changes in our weather conditions, and what Pakistan is buying.”

All of Australia’s 2018 chickpea area is now believed to be planted, and has better yield prospects than other winter crops because the seed is sown deep to access subsoil moisture.

According to the most recent ABARES forecast, the 2018 chickpea crop is expected to cover 528,000 hectares, down 53pc from the 2017 area which produced around 1.1 million tonnes.

Table 1: ABS chickpea exports for March, April and May 2018.

DESTINATION March April May Tonnes
Bangladesh 85769 27392 10206 123367
Canada 1359 523 1013 2895
Egypt 516 127 231 874
Fiji 0 0 13 13
Greece 0 25 0 25
India 0 1 119 120
Iran 934 484 762 2180
Israel 25 243 0 268
Italy 125 100 49 274
Japan 21 21 0 42
Jordan 363 554 125 1042
Korea 0 0 80 80
Lebanon 24 129 75 228
Malaysia 291 243 196 730
Mauritius 100 169 99 368
Netherlands 0 0 170 170
New Zealand 93 25 16 134
Pakistan 10760 33671 27042 71473
Papua New Guinea 7030 1 1 7032
Philippines 0 0 25 25
Poland 0 48 24 72
Portugal 500 751 495 1746
Saudi Arabia 1276 483 0 1759
Singapore 24 0 48 72
South Africa 48 50 25 123
Spain 100 25 50 175
Sri Lanka 0 25 50 75
Taiwan 18 18
Thailand 3 26 2 31
Trinidad, Tobago 0 0 100 100
Turkey 465 0 50 515
UAE 4243 2726 2020 8989
United Kingdom 1509 804 409 2722
USA 784 407 313 1504
Yemen 50 50 48 148
TOTAL 116430 69103 43856 229389

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