China displaces Indonesia as the largest buyer of Australian wheat

AUSTRALIA – World’s most populous country China has displaced Indonesia as the largest buyer of wheat from Australia, new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has shown.

In the year to 30 September 2022, China imported 6Mt of wheat or 22% of the total wheat exported by Australia, making the country the single largest exporter of the commodity.

IKON Commodities CEO Ole Houe said the China figure was notable.“China is the country that has taken the biggest amount of Australian wheat ever in a year,” Mr Houe said.“Before that, it was Indonesia with 5.8Mt.”

Indonesia on 3.8Mt was the next biggest market, followed by Vietnam at 3Mt and The Philippines on 2.8Mt, according to data from the ABS.

Data from ABS also revealed that this was Australia exported a total of 27.6Mt of wheat in market year 2021-22, the largest export ever to come out of the Asia Pacific country.

The 2021-22 figures were by far ahead of 24.6Mt shipped in 2011-12, and 24.3Mt in 2020-21 and reflects strong shipment programs from eastern states, despite some lengthy flooding and rain interruptions to supply chains, and Western Australia.

The tonnage also reflects increased capacity brought about my mobile shiploaders in operation throughout 2021-22 in South Australia and Victoria, and in Queensland in the year’s closing months.

According to data released in an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission report, Australia exported 33.3Mt of grain in 2020-21, enough to break the previous record set in 2016-17 of 31.5Mt.

Everything points to 2021-22 setting a record for all grains, with wheat and barley alone eclipsing the 2020-21 total.

In the month of September, Indonesia on 426,755t was the biggest market for Australian wheat, followed by China on 265,009t and Vietnam on 197,367t.

More production anticipated in MY2022-23

Meanwhile, Australia is on its way to another record wheat production year, if positive early harvests are anything to go by.

Very little crop has been harvested to date across WA for this time of the year,  but what has been harvested has exceeded expectations by several hundred kilograms per hectare in nearly all cases for canola and wheat.

If this continues as harvest marches south, total grain production for WA will exceed the record 24Mt produced in 2021 by a fair margin, notes a report from the Grain Industry of Western Australia.

There is however delayed harvesting with rainfall in the central and southern half of the state over the past two weeks has further slowing the start of harvest.

This, according to GIWA is now beginning to cause trouble with lodging, head loss and expected downgrades in quality if the rain persists.

Severe storms across the central grain-growing regions in the past few days have further added to the delay in getting started for many growers.

Grain loss from hail across the central and southern regions is also starting to add up but GIWA notes that although the impact might be significant  for individual growers, it is not expected to impact the total tonnage of grain produced in WA.

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