Australian sorghum prices rise as China slaps anti-dumping deposits on U.S. cargoes

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Australian sorghum prices rose on Wednesday on expectations of strong demand after China imposed hefty anti-dumping deposits on cargoes from the United States, trade sources said.

China will impose anti-dumping deposits on imports of U.S. sorghum equal to 178.6 percent of their value, the government said on Tuesday. The deposit was higher than expected and effectively halts imports from the U.S. of the grain used in livestock feed and in the spirits industry, amid rising trade tensions between the world’s top two economies.

Bids for cargoes of Australian sorghum rose $10 from prices quoted on Tuesday to $322 a ton, said two traders that participate in the market.

“The bids have risen by about $10 a ton but there are hardly any offers. New deals will really depend on how much more Australian chicken feed makers are willing to pay for sorghum,” one of the traders said.

He added that China had booked up to 40,000 tonnes of Australian sorghum for shipment through September.

There was additional support for sorghum stemming from lower production in Australia because of a drought last year, said an agricultural commodities analyst based in Australia.

“We have a much smaller crop this year of about 1.2 to 1.5 million tonnes as compared with about 2 million tonnes in a normal year,” he said.

He said sorghum was trading even with wheat prices in Brisbane.

“Sorghum is trading at par with wheat at about $255 a ton in Brisbane, normally sorghum is about $20 cheaper than wheat,” the analyst said.

The United States shipped 4.76 million tonnes of sorghum to China in 2017, worth about $1.1 billion and making up the bulk of China’s roughly 5 million tonnes of imports of the grain last year, according to Chinese customs data.

Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Christian Schmollinger