Despite this year’s sharply smaller chickpea harvest, prices continue to tumble. Exporter bids for chickpeas tumbled by a further $50 to $680 delivered Brisbane in the past week.
On surface value, the smaller Aussie crop would normally be supportive of prices, but this is not the case this year. In its December crop forecast, ABARES pegged Australia’s 2017 chickpea harvest at 1.3 million tonnes, down by more than a third from the record large 2016 harvest of 2mt.
High pulse prices over the past couple of years have seen global production surge as farmers plant more chick peas, yellow peas and lentils. Pulse production has soared in the traditional export countries including Canada and Australia. Black Sea countries are also becoming big producers of pulse crops, as we have already seen in wheat and barley.
Global pulse exports for 2007 are expected to climb by around one million tonnes to 16.9mt, according to the International Grains Council. Much of this increase has occurred in dried or yellow peas which is equivalent of Australian chickpeas, on the back of larger exports from Russia after their bumper season.
Although global chickpea trade is close to unchanged on last year’s levels at 2.4mt, demand for the more expensive chickpeas is cooling as buyers substitute with the cheaper dried peas.
The impact of the larger global pulse crop has been amplified by a larger than expected harvest in India, the world’s biggest pulse importer.
Recently, India imposed a 50 per cent import duty of yellow peas and the impact of this has rippled through all the pulse markets. There have been rumours an import duty on chickpeas and lentils may be imposed, although this is yet to eventuate.
Southern Queensland grain prices edged higher last week. Stockfeed wheat prices into the Darling Downs gained $2 to $320 a tonne as it became apparent the volume of downgraded wheat from the recent rains in southern NSW would fall short of expectations. F1 feed barley gained $3 to $318 delivered Darling Downs markets.
Farmers remain reluctant sellers of wheat and barley now that the harvest window has finished.
Grain prices across south eastern Australia were generally softer last week as buyers factored in the 1.4 cent appreciation in the currency over the past week.
Last week GrainCorp reported they had received 5000 tonnes of grain into its Queensland grain storage network. This lifted the total harvest deliveries to 550,000t, down by well over 1mt on last year’s harvest.
More broadly, east coast grain deliveries are winding to a halt as the harvest pace slows. GrainCorp said they received 75,000t of grain NSW and about 300,000t in Victoria. They said most of the east coast grain deliveries are expected to be finalised before Christmas.
The USDA issued its December world supply and demand estimates last week which was broadly seen as bearish. World wheat production was increased by around 3mt to 755mt as they reflected the larger Canadian crop.