Russia and Australia Crowd Out EU Origins Barley in MENA
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Feed Barley prices have fallen significantly since May. At Germany’s Hamburg wholesale market and export port, around 204 euros per ton are currently offered. In May it was 225 euros and in April 235 euros. In the meantime, however, the prices had already fallen below the 200 Euro mark – but had recently recovered somewhat.
In France, Rouen’s most crucial export port was reporting Barley prices of around 218 euros per ton (FOB) in June. The reason is the slightly increasing exports of the French – including to China. According to AgFlow data, France exported 0.65 million tons of Barley to China in July 2023, followed by India (43,500 tons), Spain (20,480 tons), Brazil (9,500 tons), and South Africa (9,000 tons).
In the current marketing year up to June 4th, French exporters sold 2.96 million tons of Barley to third countries. Germany exports 1.5 million tons of Barley, and Romania sells 1.1 million tons of Barley on the world market. However, European Barley exports lag far behind the two previous years.
The main buyers of European Barley in the current season were China, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Iran. For the new 2023 harvest, the Commission is currently assuming an increase of 570,000 tons to 52.5 million tons (summer and winter Barley) compared to the previous year. The significant production corrections in Spain (the largest spring Barley producer) are already considered.
For Germany, the Commission expects a Barley harvest of 11.2 million tons. That would be about the same as last year. In its previous forecast, the German Raiffeisen Association came up with slightly smaller harvest quantities of 9.15 million tons of winter Barley (previous year 9.2) and 1.75 million tons of spring Barley (prior year 1.97) – a total of only 10.9 million tons. The reason for this is the significantly weaker expected yields for winter Barley due to the weather.
The Agreste Ministry of Agriculture also reported a significant expansion of winter Barley cultivation in France for the 2023 harvest and an equally significant decrease in the spring Barley area. Against this background, the Commission estimates the new French Barley harvest at 11.8 million tons – compared to 11.4 million tons last year. The commission also expects larger Barley harvests in Poland, Romania, and the Czech Republic than in 2022.
EU Barley Trade – Tough Competition
The Commission is optimistic about exports. The Commission experts expect an increase from around 9 million tons in the current season to 10 million tons in 2023. At the same time, imports – mainly from Ukraine and the UK – are expected to fall to 1.5 million tons from a total of 2.0 million tons as Barley production in Ukraine is expected to fall, and the country’s export capacities depend on continued Black Sea trade and the United Nations grain initiative. However, if UK Barley production holds up, imports from the UK will likely remain high.
Spain is expected to import larger Ukrainian and British Barley volumes to offset the lower domestic grain harvest. Large quantities of Russian and Australian Barley on the world market continue to depress prices. In the current marketing year, EU exports, therefore, recorded a significant decrease compared to the 2021/22 season, due to the loss of the markets of Romania in the Middle East and Bulgaria in Turkey and Tunisia, as well as the decline in Germany’s exports to Iran.
A surge in German Barley exports to Saudi Arabia and a resumption of sales by Romania and France to India, Iran, and Tunisia were insufficient to offset sharp declines in other markets. Russian and Australian Barley are also very competitive, crowding out EU origins from Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) markets.
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