February 1, 2021
USDA: China's latest US corn purchase the biggest ever
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) said China has booked its biggest purchase of US corn, the second biggest purchase at once from any country since the Soviet Union in January 1991, Reuters reported.
The USDA reported 2.108 million tonnes of corn was booked for delivery to China in the 2020/2021 marketing year, the biggest daily US sale on record after the Soviet Union's 3.72 million tonnes purchased 30 years ago.
The deal surpassed China's 1.936 million tonnes of US corn purchased in July 2020 and puts the country on course to become the biggest corn importer in the world.
China's corn purchases have pushed up global prices for the commodity and other grains, possibly resulting in food inflation in economies affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In October, three industry sources told Reuters that China had been looking to ramp up corn imports after domestic supplies tightened following drought damage and storms, and as China steadily recovers its swine industry affected by an African swine fever pandemic.
Jack Scoville, an analyst with Price Futures Group, said China's swine herd has recovered faster than anyone thought, while corn futures are at an all time high.
The USDA also said China booked 132,000 tonnes of soybeans (two cargoes) for delivery in the 2021/2022 marketing year.
The president of AgResource Co said last week said China's corn imports could reach up to 27 million tonnes in the current crop year, with US corn accounting for 18 to 20 million tonnes.
China's corn imports in the 2019/2020 marketing year was only 7.6 million tonnes.