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Australia’s July chickpea exports bounce along the bottom

by Liz Wells, 12 September 2018

JULY shipments of Australian chickpeas have continued at lacklustre levels, with Pakistan the only bulk market, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) export data.

A chickpea crop in the Springsure district of Central Queensland, where harvest has started for early sown crops. Photo: Trina Patterson

Tonnage shipped in July totaled 26,117 tonnes, up 7 per cent from June shipments, but down 81pc from 138,836t shipped in July 2017.

The massive drop shows the continued absence of Australia’s biggest chickpea market, India, where a large domestic crop has shut the gate on virtually all pulse imports.

Trade sources have said shipments in August might be lucky to make July levels, with Pakistan now turning its attention to east African chickpeas, and Bangladesh keen to see the quality of new-crop Australian chickpeas before committing to purchases.

“Going forward, we may be lucky to continue these volumes, as Pakistan has stepped out at the moment,” Robinson Grain trader, Adam Robinson, said.

“They are getting some Ethiopian and Tanzanian peas, and cheaper offers on old-crop out of Australia.”

Traders said old-crop peas were trading at around $750 per tonne delivered Darling Downs, and new-crop was trading at $800-$810/t.

“If you export chickpeas to Pakistan and India, they mostly become chana dhal, but in Bangladesh, the pea is eaten whole, so it’s a very quality-conscious market, and they like a nice light tan product.”

This means Bangladesh has limited interest in old-crop chickpeas, some of which show signs of weather damage suffered during the 2017 harvest.

“The big risk we are now facing is if India starts to export.”

“That October-to-December demand we normally see from India we aren’t going to get this year, and Bangladesh is more interested in January-March shipment.”

In its periodic Australian crop report released yesterday, ABARES forecast a national chickpea crop of 351,000t, down from 1.15 million tonnes produced last year, with the tumble being due to drought in northern New South Wales and much of southern Queensland.

The bright spot for Australian chickpea production is Central Queensland, where harvest is just getting under way.

Destination

May

June

July

Tonnes

Bangladesh 10206 408 2024 12638
Canada 965 195 487 1647
Chile 0 0 25 25
Egypt 231 0 200 431
Fiji 13 8 0 21
India 119 250 0 369
Iran 262 115 0 377
Italy 49 123 0 172
Japan 0 24 20 44
Jordan 125 99 49 273
Korea 80 0 0 80
Lebanon 75 50 0 125
Malaysia 171 23 92 286
Mauritius 99 46 25 170
Nepal 0 358 479 837
Netherlands 170 48 123 341
New Zealand 4 5 30 39
Pakistan 26059 18832 20847 65738
Papua New Guinea 1 0 0 1
Philippines 25 0 0 25
Poland 24 0 0 24
Portugal 495 0 0 495
Saudi Arabia 0 123 0 123
Singapore 48 27 0 75
South Africa 25 24 0 49
Spain 50 25 25 100
Sri Lanka 50 25 24 99
Thailand 2 0 21 23
Trinidad, Tobago 100 25 0 125
Turkey 141 25 25 191
UAE 1929 2933 840 5702
United Kingdom 409 218 573 1200
USA 313 136 58 507
Vietnam 0 336 150 486
Yemen 48 0 0 48
TOTAL 42288 24481 26117 92886

Table 1: ABS export tonnages for May, June and July 2018.

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