AUSTRALIA exported tonnes of 106,592 tonnes of malting barley, 495,631t of feed barley and 251,452t of sorghum in August, according to the latest export date from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
The malting figure is up 15 per cent from the 93,064t shipped in July, and sorghum is up 13pc from 221,986t shipped in the previous month, while the feed figure eased slightly from 497,953t.
On malting, Mexico on 61,939t was the biggest market for August by far, while shipments to Saudi Arabia lifted 100,000t from the July figure to consolidate it as the major destination by far on 322,659t.
On sorghum, China accounted for just about all the August-shipped tonnage, accounting for 241,013t of the total figure.
India shows up
After much anticipation and considerable bilateral negotiations, India appeared in August for the first time as a malting destination for Australian malting barley.
“The India shipment is notable, as it shows we can export malting barley to India with the new fumigation rules allowing phosphine use in place of the traditional methyl bromide requirement,” Flexi Grain pool manager Sam Roache said.
“This could become important into the new year, with a very tight all-grains scenario in India today and the potential to trigger a large import program for wheat and other grains if we see a weather issue unfold in early 2023.”
Otherwise, Mr Roache said August was another solid month for barley exports, and Australia remains on track for its second-largest barley export year.
He said significant second-tier demand from Middle East markets outside Saudi was supporting volume.
“Interruptions due to the Ukraine war and European drought continue to support Australian market share into the region.”
Asian demand has remained quiet for the last month’s of the 2021-22 marketing year,.
“We should see this change in the new year, with barley currently sitting relatively cheap versus both corn and feed wheat in the new-crop period, which is promoting demand now.
“The same can be said for competitiveness into traditional homes across the Middle East.”
Mr Roache said global feedgrain prices will likely find it hard to drop.
“That’s because of the combination of Argentinian weather going against corn plantings, and the war situation, along with tight EU stocks driven by the recent drought.
“The recent global feedgrains strength and softening Australian dollar have seen feed barley export margins grow and start to compete with wheat for allocation of shipping capacity.
“It’s all very friendly towards barley prices.”
Malting barley exports remain consistent, which Mr Roache said will run malt stocks to a very tight point, with little old- crop available to accumulate.
“Current malt spreads for new crop are very strong, with levels of $60 per tonne over feed trading in the market.
“This activity is likely driven by nervousness around new-crop quality, with continuing rains in Victoria and southern New South Wales worrying for the market.”
Additional road-fed loading facilities in Brisbane have boosted export capacity for sorghum, and Mr Roache said these are leading to a rundown of stocks ahead of new-crop wheat taking over on the stem from next month.
“Production prospects are excellent, with moisture and fallow areas available for sorghum through NSW and Queensland.
“This, coupled with seemingly insatiable demand from China, should see the production and export space remain strong for some time to come.”
Table 1: Australian malting barley exports for June, July and August 2022. Source: ABS
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Table 2: Australian malting barley exports for June, July and August 2022. Source: ABS
Table 3: Australian sorghum exports for June, July and August 2022. Source: ABS
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