Market Morsel: China is still our friend on grain*

Grain | 29th March 2022 | By Andrew Whitelaw

Market Morsel

China has been at the forefront in recent years, as they have massively increased their imports of grains. A few weeks ago, I wrote about Chinese government concerns that the winter wheat crop was the ‘worst in history’. If true, it should assist in ensuring continued high grain imports.

Chinese customs have released the newest data, and it’s showing continued high volumes of imports. The first chart below shows the cumulative imports of combined grains, and they are already at 8mmt. This is narrowly lower than last year, but is more than half the annual imports of 2016 to 2019.

The second chart compares volumes up until the end of February over the past four years. The volumes are massively up more so for wheat and barley compared to 2 to 4 years ago. In comparison to last year, Chinese imports are slightly down.

The good thing for Australian farmers is that China is buying a power of Australian wheat. The third chart below shows the seasonality of exports to China, along with 2021 and 2022 so far. The February/March data is provisional data based on shipping stem information provided by AgFlow.

China continues to import barley just now from us, and they are paying a high cost to do so. Whilst they might not want our barley at the moment, they are more than happy to take large licks of wheat.


  • China