In the midst of a barley feud between China and Australia, Canada is making a profit

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Beer (representative image) | piqsels.com

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Winnipeg / London: As a barley battle brews in the Pacific region, Canadian producers are just starting out in time to take advantage of the peak of the beer drinking season in China.

Canadian barley shipments to China increased in May, as the Asian country imposed anti-dumping duties on grain, Australia’s largest supplier. Canada exported 175,500 tonnes of barley to China in May, up 38% from the previous year, according to the Canadian Grain Commission.

Canada, the second largest exporter of malted barley to China, had already attempted to capture a larger share of the Chinese beer market in Australia. The barley of the Nordic nation has more protein than the cultures of Australia, and this quality helps fermentation to give the beer more body and foam.

The number of acres allocated to barley in Canada is expected to reach its highest level for more than a decade in 2020, and any additional production could be absorbed by demand from the Chinese beer and livestock industries, said Errol. Anderson, President of ProMarket Communications in Calgary. . Canada is one of the world’s leading producers of barley and a major exporter.

“Unfortunately, what’s going on in Australia will benefit Canada,” Anderson said over the phone. “If China enters the market, these extra acres will really be absorbed easily. ”

Canada’s efforts to ship more barley abroad have been successful, even before China’s tiff with Australia, said Tom Steve, general manager of Alberta Barley. Reductions in production in Australia due to drought in recent years have helped Canadians bring shipments to China to around 1.5 million tonnes per year, he said.

“The challenge for us is to try to secure these markets for the longer term,” said Steve.


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China is the largest beer market in the world, and consumers are increasingly turning to high-end and foreign beers from mainstream brands. Investors expect the sector to recover in July, when the peak beer consumption season begins. Inventory levels have fallen while sales at places like restaurants have continued to recover in the past few months, CCB International said in a report this week, citing checks from distributors and data-based observations third parties.

It is not only Canada that takes into account China’s barley needs. French exports are about to benefit from Australian tariffs, and consultant Grains Strategy has increased prospects for this season’s European Union barley shipments by 6% in a June report, citing an increase expected sales in China. There have been several feed barley and malting barley shipments loaded from France to China in recent weeks.

Prices in Europe and Canada are therefore firm. Feed barley in Saskatchewan has increased more than 8% since May and is currently the highest price since July 2019, according to data from Farmco.

The potential for increased barley shipments comes at the same time as latent tensions between Canada and China are reducing demand for another large Canadian crop. Last year, China suspended the licenses of two major Canadian canola shippers, citing pest and quarantine concerns – although this decision was widely interpreted as retaliation for the arrest of a Huawei executive Technologies Co. in Vancouver. Canada is the world’s leading producer and exporter of canola, an oilseed used in everything from salad dressings to frying.

“They didn’t choose barley for politics, while canola is on the hit list,” said Anderson of ProMarket. Bloomberg


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