20/01/2021 - 15:00

CBH pivots to Mexico, Saudi Arabia for barley exports

20/01/2021 - 15:00

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CBH Group has announced its first malt barley shipment to Mexico as it focuses on new markets after trade tensions with China escalated last year.

CBH pivots to Mexico, Saudi Arabia for barley exports
CBH shipped 35,000 tonnes of malting barley from the Albany Grain Terminal to Mexico on Sunday. Photo: Nic Duncan

CBH Group has announced its first malt barley shipment to Mexico as it focuses on new markets after trade tensions with China escalated last year. 

CBH shipped 35,000 tonnes of malting barley from the Albany grain terminal to Mexico on Sunday.

Chief marketing and trading officer Jason Craig said efforts to develop new markets were proving successful following disruptions to international trade.

“Our strong relationships have allowed us to find new destinations for Western Australian barley,” he said. 

“While it is early days, this shipment to Mexico signals a potential new market for malting barley; however, this will need to be developed over time.”

Mr Craig said demand for Australian feed barley from Saudi Arabia was set to increase from almost nothing in the 2019-20 marketing year to more than 2 million tonnes this year.

“Saudi is reopening as an export destination for Australian feed barley, which has become very price competitive compared to barley from alternative origins, such as Russia and the Ukraine, which have dominated exports to the country for the past few years,” he said.  

Saudi Arabia is the second largest barley importer in the world, importing approximately 7mt each year.

It uses feed barley as food for its livestock.

CBH said it expected Australian feed barley grain exports to double to Thailand and Vietnam in 2020-21, up from 700,00 and 190,000 tonnes, respectively.

“Western Australian growers have delivered a remarkable 2020-21 crop, resulting in the production of more than four million tonnes of barley,” Mr Craig said. 

“As Australia’s largest barley exporter, it is the priority for our marketing and trading team to find new markets for this grain by taking advantage of trade conditions, developing new customer relationships and exploring opportunities in new markets.” 

Trade tensions between Australia and China have disrupted barley exports over the past year.

In May, China imposed an 80.5 per cent tariff on Australian barley, after it conducted anti-dumping and countervail investigations and said it found evidence of dumping and subsidisation.

Later in the year, China suspended barley imports from CBH Group, claiming customs found weeds in a shipment.

The federal government has referred China to the World Trade Organisation over its decision to impose tariffs on barley.

Between December 1 2019 and March 31 2020, Australia exported 1.3mt of barley to China, according to trade data from the federal government.

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