AN independent online exchange for buying and selling grain reached a record milestone last week after trading the most it ever has in a single week, once again showing that despite the current world crisis, agriculture is a safe industry to be in.
Clear Grain Exchange had its biggest week on record, with more than 158,000 tonnes of grain traded, including the two biggest trading days ever with 45,000t traded on Wednesday, March 18 and 56,000t on Thursday, March 19.
Managing director Nathan Cattle said the increased volume was on the back of a significant lift in demand for Australian grains.
"That has seen prices rise back up to, or above, seasonal highs in many areas," Mr Cattle said.
"The lift in demand is evidenced by the high number of buyers actively searching and purchasing grain through the exchange which have ranged from international and offshore buyers to domestic end users.
"The extra demand activity has also pushed prices up to a level that growers appear more happy to sell at, so increased demand and higher prices have come together and allowed for more trades."
Mr Cattle said while there were other commentators better placed to explain the reasons for the lift in demand, there was no denying that COVID-19 has had an impact.
"Coronavirus has definitely contributed to the increased demand because it's weakened the Aussie dollar," he said.
"From all reports, it sounds like there is more demand for Australian grain in particular as buyers are seeing other countries as more of a sovereign risk to execute from while there is so much uncertainty in the market."
The record trading week for CGX is also a reflection of the increasing number of growers and buyers using the exchange to transact grain with the number of users continuing to climb each year.
Mr Cattle said 29 different buyers purchased grain through the exchange last week with more buyers searching for grain on offer on the electronic exchange.
"Two to three years ago, we had roughly 350 Western Australia growers registered on the exchange, now there are over 1500," he said.
"The industry is seeing value in an independent exchange that is promoting more efficient transactions of grain and more security around those transactions, that's been evidenced by the lift in engagement on both sides of the market."
Of what traded last week 67 per cent was wheat and 31pc barley, with premiums still being achieved for malt in some areas, while canola, oats and lentils made up the balance.