April 6, 2009


India exports corn, Black Sea wheat sales climb


India exported corn to Malaysia and Vietnam last week, while Southeast Asian countries bought Black Sea wheat due to port delays and price surge in Australia.


Vietnam is expected to buy 10,000 tonnes of Indian corn for prompt shipment in April, and 40,000 tonnes in May, a trader said, noting that Vietnam has no choice but to buy Indian corn because it is not fully covered for April.


Indian corn was quoted around US$190 per tonne, including cost and freight (C&F) to destinations in Southeast Asia, compared with Latin American corn costing around US$200 per tonne.


A Mumbai-based corn exporter said they are taking advantage of low container costs and ports where large vessels can't reach, as they are selling in small shipments of 5,000 to 10,000 tonnes.


India sold 10,000 tonnes of corn to Malaysia last week, at a price slightly below US$190 C&F for May shipment.


Container freight rate was quoted around US$2 per tonne from India to Southeast Asia.


India's corn exports reached 500,000 tonnes in the first quarter of 2009, double from the fourth quarter of 2008, thanks to cheaper freight rate, traders said.


Meanwhile, Vietnam and Indonesia are buying wheat aggressively from Russia and Ukraine, and more sales are expected as Australian grains become costly on a strengthening currency. Indonesia has bought 15,000 tonnes of Ukrainian wheat and more shipments could be delivered in May.


Traders said there is currently high demand for Russian wheat from Vietnam. Milling wheat from Russia was US$210 per tonne C&F, while Australian prices have increased US$40 in the past few weeks to US$285 per tonne.


Severe port congestions in Australia for the past two months have also prompted Asian buyers to seek alternative sources.


However, Southeast Asia has continued to patronise Australia. Indonesia bought 25,000 tonnes of Australia wheat last week, and was due to load some 58,000 tonnes in the next two week. Vietnam was also scheduled to receive an import shipment of 43,000 tonnes of Australian wheat.


But South Korea, which has been aggressively importing corn, wheat and soy in the past few weeks, could remain quiet this week as many feed makers have already purchased for their requirements till August and high prices will deter fresh demand, a Seoul-based trader said.