Cereal exporters slam EU subsidies

By Johann Tasker

TWO major global cereal exporters have slammed the European Union for driving down world grain prices.

EU export subsidies of more than £30/ tonne have resulted in sharply lower world barley prices, said Kevin Swan, chief executive officer of the Grain Pool of Western Australia.

Speaking at the International Grain Council conference in London today, Mr Swan described as a “major blow” the EU Commissions decision in March to grant an export subsidy of ECU47/ tonne on more than 1 million tonnes of wheat.

“The timing and the amount of these subsidies had a devastating impact on world barley prices,” he said. Mr Swan was joined by Kenneth Matchett, chief executive officer of Canadas XCAN Grain Pool.

Australia accounts for more than 18% of the worlds trade in barley and Canada has 19% of the worlds wheat export market.

Meanwhile, this years worlds wheat production is expected to be 592 million tonnes – second only to the 1997 record crop of 610m tonnes – according to the IGC. The forecast for world coarse grain production is expected to be 905m tonnes compared with 908m tonnes last year.

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