Potential for barley exports into EU next season

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In AHDB’s latest supply and demand estimates released last Thursday, barley exports for the 2022/23 season are pegged at 1.15 Mt, up 50% on the year. According to HMRC UK trade data, this season to date, exports into the EU have been relatively strong compared to the previous season. So, as we are now approaching harvest, can we expect this pace to continue into the new season?

Olivia Bonser, AHDB analyst, Cereals and Oilseeds says, “According to UK trade data, from July to March this marketing year, the UK had exported 871.85K tonnes of barley to the EU, up 60.3% from the same point last year. According to the EU Commission, as at 29 May, the EU had imported 1.05M tonnes of UK barley this season, making up 54.9% of total EU barley imports.

“The main reason for the increase in barley exports to the continent is increased demand from Spain. So far this season, of the 1.91M tonnes of barley imported by the EU, 938.8K tonnes (49.1%) went to Spain.

“Increased demand from Spain was due to the country having a much smaller than average barley crop this season (harvest 22) at 6.62M tonnes (EU commission). The EU barley balance for the 2023/24 marketing year will begin with much lower carry-in stocks than wheat, and the current drought in Spain is expected to impact European supplies (Stratégie Grains).

EU forecasting low barley crop

“Looking at the upcoming harvest, the EU Commission is currently forecasting the 2023 crop at 5.29M tonnes, down 38.5% on the five-year average. Stratégie grains has forecast the crop even lower, at 5.01M tonnes.”

In the latest MARS report released last week, it was noted that prolonged drought conditions in the Iberian Peninsula region have severely impacted winter crop yields. Though it was also added that the actual impact of the drought might be reflected more in areas sown and harvested, than in the yields. In central and southern regions, some of the winter crops have already been harvested as fodder, or, if too small to harvest, given to animals for grazing.

“It looks to be another small Spanish barley crop next season. With another reasonable UK barley crop expected, this opens up potential demand for UK exports. However, price competitivity will be key to firm exports, and availability of French barley will be an important watchpoint,” she concludes.

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