March 21, 2012


Taiwan buyers acquire Ukraine corn for quality test



Taiwanese buyers have bought Ukrainian corn in small quantities apparently to test quality, European trade sources said on Tuesday (Mar 20).


Ukrainian corn was sold to Taiwan in standard 20-foot shipping containers at US$297 a tonne cif in the past week, traders said.


"A few thousand tonnes were sold. The quantities are not large, but if the buyers are satisfied, we could see larger orders placed by the shipload," one trader said.


Traders expected sales of Ukrainian corn to increase in coming weeks as warmer temperatures end the winter-time disruptions to freight transport in the Black Sea region.


Ukraine sold 49,600 tonnes of corn to Taiwan in February as part of an expansion of grain exports into Asian markets.


"Ukrainian corn is competitive against US and South American supplies, which traditionally have a strong hold on the Taiwan market," another trader said.


Ukraine harvested a record 22.7 million tonnes of corn in 2011, against only 11.9 million tonnes in 2010, and could export up to 12 million tonnes in the 2011/12 season. The ex-Soviet republic exported about seven million tonnes of corn in the first eight months of the current season.


"We see a significant rise in Ukrainian grain exports in containers, but the share of such shipments is no more than 3% of total Ukrainian grain exports," said Mykola Vernytsky of Ukrainian analyst ProAgro.


Ukraine has huge imports, and companies are trying to find goods to fill empty containers leaving the country.


"Grain is one of those cargos," Vernytsky said. "In previous seasons, Ukraine exported wheat in containers, mostly to Iran and Saudi Arabia ... Containers could also be a so-called test shipment."


In October 2011 unusual purchases of Ukrainian corn by Taiwan were also reported. In December, it was reported that Japan also bought 800,000 tonnes of Ukrainian corn.

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