February 3, 2004



Thai Corn Exporters Look To Capitalize On Cheap Corn


Thai corn exporters are eyeing the Philippines market after clinching a deal to sell 20,000 tons of corn to Malaysia.


The deals have been finalised at about $155 a ton, cost-and-freight (C&F) basis, for end- February shipment, the traders added.


"Some Thai corn sale to Malaysia is possible although Malaysian buyers have bought a lot from other origins in recent weeks," one Singapore-based trader said.             


Malaysia, Southeast Asia's biggest corn importer, has been snapping up corn from the United States and India in the absence of export offers from China, which is struggling to rein in domestic grain prices due to falling stocks.


An outbreak of bird flu in Thailand has hit domestic demand for commercial feed, forcing Thai corn exporters to seek markets overseas. Falling Thai corn prices are making Thai corn exports competitive, compared with Indian supplies.


Thai corn for export was offered at $132-137 a ton, free-on-board (FOB) basis. It was quoted at $140 last month.


South Korean buyers bought 15,000 tons of Thai corn on Monday at $174/tonne C&F for March shipment, exporters said.


"There is a strong possibility that some Thai corn will also go to the Philippines. We are waiting for the official notification from the Philippine government on duty - free imports," one Manila - based trader said.


The Philippine government last month approved duty-free corn imports of 300,000 to 350,000 tons to offset the high cost of the feed ingredient in the world market.


The Philippines normally imposes a variable import duty structure on the grain, with duties ranging from 35 percent to50 percent. Higher duties are set for imports above the limit set by the government.