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13 September, 2021

Barley news World: Forecast for global barley trade forecast went up since May

Despite a 5-percent global production cut from the initial USDA forecast in May, the forecast for global barley trade in 2021/22 has actually gone up over the same period, USDA said in their September report.

Among the major global producers and exporters of barley, Canada and Kazakhstan are expected to have substantially smaller crops in 2021/22 than initially forecast, with a production decline of 38 percent in each country’s forecast between May and September. Dry conditions contributed to the worsening outlook for their crops.

Demand is expected to remain strong for barley, driven primarily by China and Saudi Arabia. These two countries are the world’s largest barley importers, accounting for about half of world trade. Between May and September, 2021/22 forecasts for Saudi Arabia imports were unchanged; for China, imports were down 400,000 tonnes, despite the 2.5-million-tonne export cut for Canada, China’s top supplier in 2020/21. Additionally, barley imports by Vietnam and Thailand have ticked up as Australia barley exports to China screeched to a halt earlier this year. For these countries, much of this trade is expected to be for feed-quality barley, though China also imports a large volume of malting-quality barley. In order to meet this demand, other exporters are squeezing out additional barley to fill the gap left by Canada and Kazakhstan.

For Ukraine and Australia, production and exports are forecast higher in September than in May, offsetting the cuts to Canada and Kazakhstan. The production forecast for the European Union, the world’s largest barley producer, is also down slightly, but reduced competition from Canada is expected to improve EU export prospects.

This month, global barley exports (Oct-Sep) are forecast at 33.5 million tonnes, about 500,000 tonnes up from May and, if realized, would be the second-highest trade volume on record behind 2020/21.

With this level of trade and lower forecast production, ending stocks have tightened by 2.7 million tons compared to May.

Global barley prices have also recovered after a period of easing due to harvest pressures in several large grain producers and are now 25 percent higher than a year ago. Elevated corn prices are contributing to barley’s competitiveness as well.


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