A few weeks into 2021, we have seen the first grind results of Q4 2020. This figure corresponds to first quarter of the 2021 October-September crop year.
Matching expectations, Malaysian grind fell a nominal 2.5 percent in Q4 2020 to 87,163 MT down slightly YOY but up 14 percent from the previous quarter.
Echoing that number, Asian grind—Malaysia and Indonesia, primarily—fell 4.2 percent to 217,546 MT. This decline did not surprise many as Q4 2019 was the strongest quarter of Asia grind on record and a near-impossible number to beat during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather, the fact that Asian grind fell short of this record quarter by less than 10,000 MT is an encouraging sign for the 2021 outlook.
By comparison, North American Q4 grind exceeded expectations, up 7 percent YOY. Grinding rose by 8,000 MT, with 118,043 MT consumed in Q4 2020. It was the strongest Q4 since 2016 and surprised market participants, who had been expecting a flat to negative result. With weak Q1 to Q2 2020 performance impacted by COVID-19, the stage is set for North American results to meet or exceed results in 2021.