The global beer industry has faced significant headwinds the past few years. The pandemic, followed by the escalation of input costs, supply chain difficulties and shifts in consumer preference hit hard, but not all is doom and gloom. China’s brewing industry is quite profitable and markets such as Brazil, Colombia and Mexico continue to thrive and grow. In 2022, global beer production rose in 2022 to 1.89 million hectolitres (mln hL) from 1.87 in 2021, an increase of 1.33 per cent, or a little more than the beer output of Canada.
The market, defined here as the elements that converge to establish the price for any given commodity or service, has always been hard to discern. Its inscrutable nature promotes the dream of building a “black box” technology that removes human fallibility and emotion from the equation.
In recent years, the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre (CMBTC) has worked with major malting and brewing customers in China to facilitate commercial malting and brewing trials. This is the final stage in the roughly three-step process to secure new variety acceptance by end-users.
Following a five-year gap, the federal government reintroduced extended interswitching to the rail system with its 2023 budget. The action was taken at the recommendation of the government’s National Supply Chain Task Force report released in October 2022. Western Grain Elevator Association (WGEA) executive director Wade Sobkowich believes interswitching legislation must go further to make rail freight shipment more competitive.
The job of an agricultural analyst is to have an opinion on every topic and an answer for every question. And most of us prefer fundamentals—supply and demand. However, in 2022, macroeconomics and geopolitics held sway and muted some of the price movements that could have occurred if fundamentals dominated the market. Moreover, the variables needed for any model explaining potential price direction have expanded. To get my bearings at times like these, I resort to the Coma Test.
The Port of Prince Rupert is a remote but critical link in the Canadian crop export chain. Located in Prince Rupert Harbour just south of the Alaska Panhandle on British Columbia’s rugged Pacific coastline, its facilities are strung along a 20-kilometre stretch of Kaien Island, adjacent to the Prince Rupert townsite.
Markets, trade and technical services are at the core of Cereals Canada operations. With the onset of COVID-19 in spring 2020, many of the organization’s activities, including international new crop missions, were conducted virtually. This past July, Cereals Canada returned to in-person operations.
Grain and oilseed market analysis should boil down to two questions: How much did farmers produce, and how much was consumed? This leaves a residual, which is the gap between total supply and total demand. The larger the residual (ending stocks) the more pressure on prices and vice versa. A fundamentals-driven analyst would look closely at the magnitude (big/little) and direction (up/down) of ending stocks and be able to discern price direction. Unfortunately, for farmers and consumers, macroeconomics and geopolitical aspects matter and often dominate the determination of prices.
From Aug. 10-12, the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre (CMBTC) and its members held the 2022 Western Canada Barley Crop Tour, the first time in three years the event has been held in person. Approximately 50 representatives from across the barley value chain gathered in central Saskatchewan. The group included maltsters and brewers, Canadian farmers and grain companies, as well as buyers of Canadian barley and malt from around the world. The tour included several beer industry representatives from Japan, one of Canada’s largest malt markets. Among them were technical and purchasing staff from Asahi and Sapporo Breweries.