Hangover for UK farmers as Brexit uncertainty hits brewing barley sales to EU

LONDON/HAMBURG (Reuters) – Sales of British malting barley to European Union brewers and malt producers for delivery after Brexit have come to a virtual stop because of uncertainty about future trading relations.

FILE PHOTO: A worker prepares barley malt at the start of the brewing process of Harry and Meghan’s Windsor Knot pale ale at the Windsor and Eton brewery in Windsor, Britain April 11, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/File Photo

The standstill in so-called forward export sales for delivery in coming months means UK farmers are not able to take advantage of current attractive prices and are losing business to other EU suppliers, traders said.

“They have essentially lost market access at this point of time for forward sales which is frustrating because commercially it is the right thing to do, forward prices are high,” said Jack Watts, chief combinable crops adviser with the National Farmers Union, which represents farmers in England and Wales.

Britain, which counts barley as its second most important arable crop after wheat, is due to leave the EU on March 29 and there is still no final deal on future trading terms.

Forward sales of malting barley for delivery after this date have not materialized, traders said.

“It is certainly true that German importers are not currently buying British malting barley. This is because of the uncertainty with Brexit, or with no Brexit or whatever,” one German malting barley trader said.

“The great problem is that it is not currently po

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