March 31, 2014
Due to an abundant US corn crop harvested in 2013, accumulated exports of US corn to Mexico as of March 20 reached 5.5 million tonnes, more than 3.3 million tonnes on-year, according to USDA's Export Sales Report.
For perspective, Mexico only imported 4.5 million tonnes of US corn for the 2012-13 marketing year that began on September 1, 2012. This dramatic turnaround is due to an abundant US corn crop harvested in 2013, which allowed for US corn to be competitively priced in the export market.
The 2012-13 corn marketing year was marked by a tight supply of US corn due to a severe drought in large part of the US Corn Belt. Some top markets, including Mexico, were forced to diversify sourcing to meet demand. During 2013, Mexico imported approximately 609,000 tonnes of corn from Argentina and Brazil.
However, the US is still the preferred long-term reliable supplier of corn despite the availability of South American origin corn. The US Grains Council helps bolster this reputation by providing yearly Corn Harvest and Export Cargo Quality Reports that evaluate the US corn crop at harvest and again at the export channel.
Mexican grain traders confirmed their preference for US corn by stating they anticipate a slight increase in corn imports compared to imports in the 2011-12 marketing year, which was a more normal corn importing year than 2012-13. The traders have indicated the only difference this year is the lack of competition from other suppliers such as Argentina and Brazil.
However, later this year, a projected large Mexican corn crop could dampen the rate of corn exports to Mexico. There could be a slowdown in the volume of US corn imported when Mexico's corn crop is harvested, but for now the Mexican market is demonstrating its longstanding preference for US corn.