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Philippines pips Indonesia as May’s top bulk Aus wheat destination

by Liz Wells, 11 July 2018

THE Philippines was Australia’s largest bulk wheat market in May, taking 306,483 tonnes out of a total shipped for the month of 1.26 million tonnes (Mt), up slightly from the April total of 1.25Mt, according to the latest export figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Loading grain at a CBH Group port in Western Australia. Photo: CBH Group

The Philippines’ May purchases were close to double its April figure, and the highest since March 2017.

This put The Philippines well ahead of Indonesia, which took 278,615t of Australian wheat in May, in line with its usual tonnage.

Market Check head of strategy, Nick Crundall, said May was the first month The Philippines imported more Australian wheat than Indonesia.

“This reflects just how important this market is becoming to Australia,” Mr Crundall said.

South and Western Australian exports in May showed a continuing surge, after lagging substantially in the first few months of Australia’s exporting window.

“Western Australia had its largest export month of the season in May, with South Australia also performing much better than we saw in the harvest period.

“It also shows that Black Sea wheat became too expensive, and buyers switched to us.”

Export top of 14.5Mt seen

Mr Crundall said export data and Market Check modelling suggested Australia would export 14-14.5Mt of wheat in the current shipping year.

“This leaves our domestic balance sheet in its tightest position in more than 20 years.

“If we don’t see a favourable change in growing conditions, especially as we get into spring, the market will need to do even more work to ration demand to build ending stocks for next season.

“Further, we’ll likely only have enough exportable surplus available to service our inelastic export customers, meaning we’ll see an even greater drop in exports than we’ve seen this year.”

Wheat crops in the Black Sea region are now being harvested.

Mr Crundall said this origin was expected to price into key Australian wheat markets, especially over the next few months.

“This isn’t too concerning, or unusual, as we typically wind down our export program as they wind up.

“Considering the precarious domestic situation we currently facing, we have no business trying to regain market share into export channels from the Black Sea.”

Boxed sales up

In containerised exports, Vietnam and Myanmar took first and second place in volume terms with 41,198t and 30,796t respectively for May, in line with the pattern of recent months.

A total of 28,543t of containerised wheat was shipped to Malaysia in May, an unusually large tonnage for this destination, which contributed to total containerised wheat exports for the month of 186,444t, up 34 per cent on the April figure.

Table 1: ABS bulk wheat export data for March, April and May 2018.

BULK March April May Tonnes
Bahrain 26900 0 0 26900
Bangladesh 51000 0 30070 81070
China 162062 66000 69300 297362
Egypt 56220 0 0 56220
Fiji 14000 26662 0 40662
Indonesia 241939 259505 278615 780059
Iraq 0 102750 0 102750
Japan 70009 64199 64207 198415
Korea 60273 94035 90200 244508
Kuwait 0 43420 42600 86020
Malaysia 65339 20667 95317 181323
New Zealand 52914 54102 32005 139021
Nigeria 0 104400 49140 153540
Papua New Guinea 17600 39356 0 56956
Philippines 229250 156389 306483 692122
Singapore 0 13455 15400 28855
Sri Lanka 0 9509 0 9509
Thailand 45100 66000 26776 137876
UAE 0 16065 0 16065
Vietnam 119257 27499 108811 255567
Yemen 55000 85250 50767 191017
TOTAL 1266863 1249263 1259691 3775817

 

Table 2: ABS containerised wheat export data for March, April and May 2018.

CONTAINERS March April May Tonnes
China 26317 7710 12277 46304
Egypt 0 280 0 280
Fiji 3476 4194 4010 11680
French Polynesia 0 198 0 198
Hong Kong 0 48 0 48
Indonesia 12466 12520 2623 27609
Japan 1590 0 1617 3207
Jordan 0 0 1033 1033
Korea 537 0 997 1534
Malaysia 17472 17223 28543 63238
Myanmar 23980 20043 30796 74819
New Caledonia 2445 698 2027 5170
New Zealand 3454 3424 6081 12959
Papua New Guinea 226 325 250 801
Philippines 21268 4568 9127 34963
Saudi Arabia 2321 1250 0 3571
Singapore 0 1495 1504 2999
Solomon Islands 1202 1281 1706 4189
Sri Lanka 1045 2982 6384 10411
Taiwan 19590 21401 21758 62749
Thailand 17109 11603 14289 43001
UAE 0 0 26 26
UK 0 0 198 198
Vietnam 42924 27436 41198 111558
TOTAL 197422 138679 186444 522545

 

 

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