Barley trade pins hopes on Saudi Arabia

Friday, 14 November, 1997

By FWi staff

TRADERS are pinning their hopes on the export market for barley – even though Brussels has once again rejected all bids for exports.

The Cereal Management Committee this week turned down three export bids from UK grain traders totalling 6,000 tonnes. Refunding the exports would have cost the EU about Ecu25/ t.

Although intervention provides a domestic safety-net price of £83/ t, little feed barley is being offered into store.

Intervention Board officials confirmed they have received “lots of inquiries”, but no intervention offers have been accepted and actual submissions have so far totalled only 11,000&nbspt.

Instead, merchants are waiting for expected shipment orders from countries such as Saudi Arabia.

Insiders agree that the trade is pinning its hopes on export bids eventually being rubber-stamped.

The feeling among traders is that the next big batch of barley ordered by Saudi Arabia from the EU could be passed to the UK, says Peter Harman of traders SCATS, Winchester.

And until then, export opportunities to other EU countries remain reasonable.

Large quantities of barley offered into intervention on the Continent have improved price prospects for remaining free market supplies, according to HGCA information.

In Germany alone, barley submissions already total more than 900,000&nbspt.

In any case, much British barley – especially from East Anglia – requires screening before it will reach the necessary intervention standards, says Chris Barnes of Fengrain, Cambridgeshire.

UK farmers are reluctant to offer barley into intervention until they are sure better prices are unavailable elsewhere, says Richard Billinton of traders J. Dawson & Sons, North Yorkshire.

There will be no great rush of offers unless the much-hoped for export opportunities fail to materialise, he adds.

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