Australia: Malting barley exports down 48% in May
Australia exported 637,004 tonnes of feed barley, 72,608t of malting barley and 304,470t of sorghum in May, according to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
The malting figure is down 48 per cent from the April total of 139,387t, while feed barley exports for May are up 2pc from the 624,130t shipped in April.
Sorghum exports in May jumped 53pc from the April total of 198,800t.
Mexico accounted for 87pc of Australias malting exports in May, while Saudi Arabia on 269,234t was the major destination for feed barley shipments, taking 42pc of the total.
Kuwait on 123,916t and Japan on 100,332t were the second and third-biggest destinations for Australias May-shipped feed barley.
China continues as the volume buyer of Australian sorghum, and was the destination for 231,315t, or 76pc, of May shipments, with Japan on 65,031t the other major bulk customer for the month.
Flexi Grain pool manager Sam Roache said May saw malting barley shipments back off the big April number and return to around the average monthly figure for the year.
Mexico continues to lead the way with a recent record month, with lower numbers from Vietnam and Peru to balance that off, Mr Roache said.
The mystery Kuwait malt last month didnt reoccur and it is likely that this was a misdiagnosed feed cargo.
On feed barley, Mr Roache said May was a notably large month for shipments to Kuwait, and exports to Saudi and Japan were closer to the higher end than the lower end of recent.
The robust demand environment to these standard barley buyers is notable, and we expect consistent business for the year, with a minor slowdown in volume as stocks dwindle.
Mr Roache said current-crop export business with good export margins was already sold right out to October to Middle East destinations including Saudi.
Looking further forward, Jordan has already purchased a likely Australian cargo in a recent tender for the Nov period, which is another great indicator of Aussie competitiveness and showing a margin of A$50/t plus over local grower bids.
We lose Iran, which will likely switch over to Russian execution from June-July forward, but this is no surprise.
Mr Roache said Asian demand remained subdued, with The Philippines only featuring for a small amount and Thailand continuing to miss entirely.
Asian feedgrain demand is gravitating towards corn, with even the previously cheap and surplus Aussie feed wheat losing considerable market share to new-crop South American corn.
What happens going forward is in the hands of US weather, but for the moment, corn is in the box seat.
Sorghum saw a strong month, with more crop and logistics available to export.
The demand is there and it is largely understood that sorghum exports offer the best margins for traders, so sorghum will continue to get the slots it needs.
Again, China is there for the lions share, which will continue to be the case unless politics gets in the way.
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