AusRAIL, Market Sectors

WA grain trade should shrug off storm damage

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> Large export quantities of grain will be available despite fears of reduced production after crops took a hit from severe storms in Western Australia’s wheat belt recently. </span> <p>The region was hit by wild winds and hail in recent days, but analysts believe there will still be plenty to export.<br /><br />Rabobank senior grains analyst Graydon Chong said while the cost of the storms was still being counted, as much as 5%-6% of production volumes could be lost.<br /><br />“It’s probably a bit early to say, but I think there still will be plenty of stock to move,” he told Rail Express international sister publication Lloyd’s List.<br /><br />Chong said WA grain stocks were currently low, meaning growers could enjoy robust prices. A WA shipbroker said he was confident any shipping impact would be limited.<br /><br />WA grain is usually harvested between October and January before being exported between January and April, with Indonesia the largest buyer.<br /><br />Grain is exported from several ports including Esperance, Albany, Kwinana and Geraldton, and is primarily moved by rail.<br /><br />The 2014/15 harvest was already expected to be less than the record 2013/14 (about 15.8m tonnes) due to dry climatic conditions, with about 13.7m tonnes forecast for 2014/5 by growers’ entity CBH Group.<br /><br />Its spokesperson said there was about 1m tonnes left over from last year’s crop, which was “about average”, with around 500,000 tonnes having come into terminals since the start of the season.<br /><br />While it could be “quite devastating” for some individual growers, she said there would still be plenty of volume for export.</p><p><strong><em>This article was originally published in Rail Express international sister publication Lloyd’s List.</em></strong></p>