30 November 2018

China investigates Australian barley imports over dumping allegations

A warning? China is to launch an anti-dumping probe into Australian barley imports. Farmers down under suspect the investigation is politically motivated, after Australia signed security and infrastructure deals to counter China’s influence in the Pacific, local media reported on 18 November 2018.

China’s Commerce Ministry is looking at barley imports from Australia, covering the period October 2017 to September 2018.

Australia is China’s major supplier of barley, which is used to brew beer and in livestock feed. China imported USD 1.28 billion worth of Australian barley in 2017.

Analysts say global grain prices are at a very high level and the market is tight. It is not the point in the market cycle where you would expect dumping.

Australian companies named in the investigation include GrainCorp, CBH Grain, Plum Grove, Premium Grain Handlers, WA Grains, Independent Grain Handlers, ADM Trading Australia, Australia Grain Export, Australian Growers Direct, Woodlands Hill Grain, and Australian Natural Foodstuffs.

Strangely enough, Plum Grove and several other exporters named had never made bulk shipments of barley to China, media say.

The application letter for the anti-dumping investigation said the volume of barley imports from Australia jumped 67 percent from 2014 to 2017, and prices fell by about a third during that time.

China accounted for 60 percent to 70 percent of Australia’s barley exports, and it bought a record of more than 6 million tonnes. Sales have fallen significantly this year due to the drought in Australia.

Meanwhile, China’s annual barley production has dropped from 4 million tonnes annually to about 2 million tonnes over the past decade.

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