The CWB on Thursday released its latest Pool Return Outlook (PRO) for the 2011-12 crop year. Wheat values have declined from last month’s PRO between $22 and $39 per tonne, depending on class, grade and protein level. Durum values are down by $22 per tonne since the June PRO. Malting barley values decreased by $11 per tonne and Pool A feed barley is down $13 per tonne. Malting barley trade is forecast similar to last year, with increased demand for early delivery periods due to tight supplies coming into 2011-12. Prices in North America will be sheltered to some extent from lower international prices because a smaller U.S. barley crop will provide a higher-priced market for malting barley trade this year. China, the largest importer of barley, is forecast to have strong barley demand in 2011-12. However, China is expected to defer some demand until purchases can be made from Australia and Argentina, the CWB said.
The barley price structure in 2011-12 will be set by exports available from the Black Sea region. Ukraine, the largest of the Black Sea exporters, will help cover demand from the Middle East this year, but is forecast to increase exports by only 800 thousand tonnes. Tight supplies in Europe and Canada will help prices remain firm until January, when new-crop barley supplies become available from Australia and Argentina, which are both forecast to have large barley crops. The world’s largest feed buyer, Saudi Arabia, is showing signs of tight barley supplies and is forecast to increase its feed barley demand moving into 2011-12. If this demand is realized it will help mitigate the downside price impact. Like the other return projections this month, barley is being impacted by the strong Canadian dollar.
The weather market in Europe has subsided and prices have made their inevitable corrections over the last month and a half. Prices decreased by $50 to $70 U.S. before levelling off when end users stepped in to take further coverage. Lower European production estimates and reduced planted area in North America have decreased the potential supply of malting-quality barley, keeping prices volatile over the last month. Now that harvest has begun in the Northern Hemisphere, the focus will switch from overall production size to quality results. New-crop malting barley supplies are highly dependent on harvest weather, and prices will remain volatile as we move into August and September. Prices are expected to remain firm until January when production in Australia and Argentina is expected to cause a decrease in values. The overall supply of malting-quality barley from these two countries is expected to be large, as Southern Hemisphere production typically has less quality risk than in the Northern Hemisphere.