* Wheat, barley, canola exports all surging - traders
* India buying wheat, Saudi Arabia takes barley
* Record wheat, barley crops; 2nd-largest canola harvest
By Naveen Thukral and Colin Packham
SINGAPORE/SYDNEY, Feb 14 Australian grain
exports likely surged to an all-time monthly high of more than 4
million tonnes last month, smashing the previous record by a
third on strong demand from Saudi Arabia, China and India and
lower prices amid a bumper crop.
Exports hit 4.0-4.3 million tonnes in January compared with
3 million tonnes sold in first month of 2012, according to
estimates from grain traders and analysts surveyed by Reuters.
The estimated jump comes as Australia churns out more wheat and
barley than ever before on near-perfect growing conditions.
On the back of a domestic output shortfall, India's wheat
imports largest have jumped to their highest in a decade,
created additional demand for Australian crops. Meanwhile Saudi
Arabia and China are snapping up products such as barley and
canola, traders said.
"We had a record wheat crop but demand is also very strong
this year," said Ole Houe, analyst with brokerage IKON
Commodities in Sydney. "India needs more wheat (for human
consumption) and Saudi Arabia is taking barley to feed camels."
The Australian Bureau of Agriculture, Resource Economics and
Rural Sciences said on Tuesday the country produced 35.13
million tonnes of wheat in the 2016/17 season - around 18
percent more than the previous record of 29.6 million tonnes set
in 2011/12. The agency didn't publish export numbers.
The country also produced all-time high barley crop of 13.4
million tonnes. Canola output of 4.1 million tonnes was second
largest in the history, according to official data.
India has bought more than 5 million tonnes of wheat since
mid-2016, already its biggest annual purchase in a decade, after
it began an import campaign to meet a supply shortfall left by
two years of lower domestic production.
"The last two weeks of low wheat prices have meant that
Australian wheat export sales have exploded," said one
He estimated Australia has sold more than 8.2 million tonnes
of wheat since the new marketing year began in October. The
country is forecast by traders to export some 22-25 million
tonnes in the year to September 2017.
In addition to new sources of demand, Australia's key wheat
customer Indonesia also continues to bolster purchases. The
country emerged as the world's second-largest wheat importer two
years ago with rapidly growing demand.
Australian Standard Wheat was sold into Asia in January at
around $195 a tonne, including cost and freight, compared with
$200 a tonne for a similar variety from the Black Sea region.
U.S. soft white wheat was quoted at $205 a tonne, according to
Benchmark Chicago Board of Trade wheat futures climbed
4.4 percent last week after the U.S. Department of Agriculture
cut its estimates for global surplus with lower output in India
For barley, the country has sold 3.3 million tonnes for the
first five months of the marketing year ended September, said
Andrew Woodhouse, grains analyst at Advance Trading Australasia.
Meanwhile canola sales in the October-April shipment period
are expected by traders to hit 2 million tonnes.
(Reporting by Naveen Thukral in SINGAPORE and Colin Packham in
SYDNEY; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)