A group of leading Saudi importers has purchased 360,000 tonnes of optional origin barley for October shipment and another 265,000 tonnes of Ukrainian origin for September shipment, trade sources said.
Saudi Arabia is the world's largest importer of barley and most of it is used as animal feed.
While Saudi wheat supplies are managed by the state run Grain Silos and Flour Mills Organisation (GSFMO), barley is privately imported.
Traders said 360,000 tonnes of optional origin barley were purchased in the last few days by several private Saudi buyers from international suppliers at the price of $344 per tonne C&F for October delivery in seven vessels to non-Jeddah Saudi ports.
A $14 per tonne premium is set for delivery to non-Jeddah ports, traders say.
Shipped from Ukraine
The barley origin was optional, although it most likely comes from the last cargoes still being shipped from Ukraine, the world's largest barley exporter, whose barley exports have fallen after severe weather damaged crop.
An earlier deal last week for 265,000 tonnes of Ukrainian origin barley was purchased at $318 per tonne C&F with eight to ten small vessels expected to unload their cargo in Jeddah port later in September, another trading source said.
Traders say the latest two large barley purchases bring total purchases by private Saudi firms to 2.5 million tonnes since end of December.
Alongside wheat, barley prices have surged since a drought devastated Russia's harvest and the country announced a sudden grain export ban.
Its imports of barley in the 12 months to July 2010 stood at 7.7 million tonnes, according to official statistics.