Market Morsel: Our barley diversification to continue?

Grain | 15th April 2024 | By Andrew Whitelaw

Market Morsel

When China had a huge tariff on Australian barley, there was a big push to diversify our markets away from having a reliance on China.

This was needed at the time because we had no choice; we had to find as many homes as possible to send our barley to.

One of the markets that we won was South and Central America. Prior to the tariff being introduced, we had barely exported to that region. In the chart below, we can see that during the period 2020 to 2023, Australia absolutely took over and stamped its authority on the region.

In reality, at that time, countries that would normally trade into South and Central America were sending large volumes of barley into China to replace the volume we could no longer supply economically.

The volume into South America was welcome, as it was a new market and a market taking malt barley. The volume was small compared to what we exported during the tariff period, as seen in the second chart.

The reality, as I projected since the start of the tariff, was that diversification was required during the tariff period but that when China came back into the market, they would be the biggest buyer of our barley – and that has happened, as per the last chart.

Will we continue to export volumes to this region?