Market Check - Shifting Trade Flows for Australian Grain (Oct-21)

Shifting Trade Flows for Australian Grain (Oct-21)

The record large 2020-21 winter crop last season combined with our price competitiveness into the global market and shifting political landscape (e.g. China) meant that global trade flows for Australian grain shifted. New destinations opened to Australian wheat and barley that helped us reach a record export year and should put us in good stead to maximize exports again this coming season. Based on ABS data and export stem forecasts, wheat and barley exports for the 2020-21 season will climb a whopping 18 million tonnes (Mt) to 31Mt compared to the previous season.


Wheat exports are forecast to hit just shy of 24Mt for the 2020-21 season, a jump of over 14Mt on the previous season. The South-Eastern Asian region normally takes the lion’s share of Australian wheat and 2020-21 was no exception with a year-on-year increase of 7Mt as at the end of July 2021, led by Indonesia. But a big shift in demand came from the African region which jumped 2.2Mt over the same period and will likely be higher once the marketing year is completed at end of September. Countries such as Egypt, Kenya, Sudan and South Africa saw big increases in volumes imported from Australia given our relative pricing was cheaper versus their traditional suppliers.

Barley also saw a shift in trade flows with exports forecast to reach 8Mt (including malted barley), a 4Mt increase on the previous year. The biggest shift in global trade flows for Australian barley was from China to the Middle East which was no surprise given restrictions in place for our barley into China. The Middle East region took 3.7Mt as of the end of July 2021, an increase of 3.5Mt on the previous year which is no surprise given Australian feed barley was and still is the cheapest feed grain globally.

This is all good news for Australian growers as these destinations remain very much open for the next wave of export sellers for the huge crop that is currently coming off.

Editor: Richard Perkins, Market Check

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