Canadian barley exports at fresh high
Food & Beverages
Canadian barley exports in weeks 1-10 of this marketing year were the highest for the period since at least 2013-14, driven by strong purchases from China and despite expectations of weaker domestic output. Canada shipped 540,000t of barley in weeks 1-10 of the 2021-22 marketing year that started in August, Canadian Grain Commission data show. This was up from the previous record of 514,000t a year earlier and far above an average of 136,000t for the same period in 2013-20 (see chart). Exports accelerated in late September after a slow start to the season, with shipments peaking at 225,000t in the week to 25 September. Exports rose to a new high despite production falling to 7.1mn t in weeks 1-10 from 10.7mn t a year earlier, as hot and dry weather weighed on yields, offsetting higher acreages than in previous years. This was as China made stronger and earlier purchases of the crop — unlike previous years. A breakdown of Canadian exports by country is not available yet, buy Chinese customs data show Canada was China's largest barley supplier in July-August, receiving 444,000t, with Argentina supplying the second-highest volume, at 387,000t. And early customs data from China show barley imports in September of 1.51mn t, up from 690,000t in August and the highest for any month since at least 2015 (see chart).
China upped barley imports as animal producers sought alternative feed crops amid rising wheat and corn prices globally. The US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS Beijing) earlier this month revised up its projection for China's 2021-22 barley imports by 900,000t to 10.5mn t, while trimming those for corn and wheat imports by 6mn t and 2mn t, respectively. But reduced domestic production suggests Canadian exporters might have already sold a considerable share of available barley supply, implying shipments could slow later in the season. The USDA expects Canadian barley exports of just 1.6mn t this year, while government department Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada sees them at 2mn t. This suggests at least a quarter of export-bound barley has already been shipped.