March 24, 2014


China sees falling US corn imports in Feb 2014



Due to China's rejection of an unapproved genetically-modified (GMO) strain, the country's corn imports from the US decreased sharply in February 2014, while imports from Ukraine surged, official customs data revealed.


China imported 205,776 tonnes of corn from the US in the month, down more than a third from January's imports of 641,843 tonnes, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.


Since November, Beijing has rejected a total of about 900,000 tonnes of corn from the US after detecting Syngenta corn strain, MIR 162, which is not approved by China's agriculture ministry for import.


However, China's imports of non-GMO corn from Ukraine surged to 192,374 tonnes in February, bringing the country's total imports in the month to 479,758 tonnes, up 21.74% on-year, data showed.


China started importing corn from Ukraine late last year and feed mills continue to book cargoes under a loan-for-grains deal signed in 2012.


In 2013-14, China's corn imports were estimated to rise only slightly to 2.8 million tonnes from 2.7 million tonnes in the previous year, said Zhu Yongsheng, assistant general manager of the bio-chemical and bio-energy division of China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation (COFCO) Ltd.


However, lower overseas prices have resulted in an increase in imports although China has a glut. After seven consecutive weeks of cancellations, China bought its first US corn in more than two months last week, the USDA said.


Traders expect Beijing to release its huge reserves of corn as early as May after it has added 60 million tonnes by the end of April to state stocks.