January 29, 2004
US Corn Sales Unexpectedly Strong
US corn exports registered unusually high volumes this week. For the first time since 2001, Iran purchased U.S. corn - 64,100 metric tons, or 2.5 million bushels - which surprised Council staff.
"This was unexpected because U.S. exporters must go through the U.S. Department of the Treasury to obtain special licenses to export to Iran," said Gary McKinney, manager of international operations for the Council. "As a result of these regulations, sales of U.S. corn to Iran have been sporadic over the past 10 years, ranging from 650,000 tons sold in 1999 to zero sales other years."
Also, the Council's Korea office reported that Korean feed millers purchased 582,500 tons (23 million bushels) of optional origin U.S. corn for February or March delivery.
"It's been a long time since we've seen that volume of a sale to Korea," said Mike Callahan, Council senior director of international operations for Asia.
Council staff has been pleased with recent U.S. corn sales to Korea, which had been favoring cheaper Chinese corn. The U.S. once enjoyed an 83 percent corn market share in Korea, but last year had only 3 percent.
In addition to the strong corn sales, Ireland purchased 6,000 tons of sorghum this week, the first time since 1977. Other than distiller's dried grains with soluables (DDGS), Ireland purchases little grain from the United States. In 2003 they bought about 300,000 tons of DDGS.