Iran back for French barley supply amid growing demand

Iran has booked at least two cargoes of French barley, with one of the cargoes already being nominated for loading from La Pallice, which would be the first export to Iran from France since July 2019 when 132,000 mt were exported.

According to La Pallice port data, a vessel called Lolcos Confidence with 63,000 mt of barley is currently loading and will be delivered to BIK port, and trade sources said there are more to come.

“Looks like a lot of hopes were put on China. As they have not come, the book is redirected to Iran. Remember Ukraine is not there. So yes, this year I believe Iran will be a key buyer. The market says 3-4 parcels will load in France and same from EU Black Sea,” a trader said. 

It also comes as Iran is short on reserves, according to market sources, and needs to import more feed grains, with barley imports estimated to reach 2-3 million mt.

French barley remains almost the only origin that can supply China apart from Russia and Canada, as another traditional supplier, Ukraine, will not be able to supply the usual volumes due to the ongoing war in the country.

Chinese demand has not been significant so far, however.

“Forget China for the moment, they buy sorghum $400/mt, clearly not in the game,” a trader said.

Iran traditionally buys around 44% of its imported barley from the EU, but usually it is Germany and Baltic origins that are exported, while around 40% of all its imports comes from Russia.

Currently, FOB offer ideas for French barley stand at around $385/mt FOB La Pallice for panamax cargos, while German and Baltic origins are also in the same range at $383-387/mt FOB.

On the freight side, howerver, northern Europe commands a $3-5/mt premium.