European Union – Malting barley unlinks from other grain markets

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Different from other grains, malting barley prices in the EU have moved slightly higher. Just like crude oil, corn and wheat have reacted on growing concerns of a slowdown of economic growth and the European debt crisis, whereas malting barley has remained stable and even trended higher for some origins and shipment periods.

While from crop 2011 Denmark still seems to have the EU’s largest spring malting barley surplus, the availability of malting barley from other sources is getting more scarce. For that reason, UK malting barley has developed a premium of over 20 Euro/mt over the Danish origin. Interestingly, the specifications for both should be the same. The physical demand for Ready-to-process malting barley made buyers pay such premiums, as from Denmark one would have to check the maltability of every single lot shipped. A second reason is the better phytosanitary condition of UK barley compared to Denmark and Sweden.

Due to the fact, that more malting barley will have to be downgraded to feed barley in Scandinavia, the expectations of ending stocks have lately been corrected to the downside. Markets now expect an early demand for malting barley from crop 2012 for replenishing the run-down malting barley stocks at the maltings. Earliest malting barley available is usually of french origin, which is why the currently paid premium for french origin seems to be establishing in crop 2012 as well.