April 28, 2014

 

US corn exports hit record high despite China's cancellations

 

 

Despite another round of cancelled purchases by China tied to a banned variety of genetically-modified grain, US exporters last week shipped the most corn in at least 24 years, government data showed.

 

During the week ended April 17, more than 1.6 million tonnes of corn was loaded for shipment in the US, the world's largest producer and exporter. That is the highest total in USDA records dating to 1990.

 

A bulk of the grain was destined to major origins, such as Japan, Mexico and South Korea, as well as emerging buyers, including Colombia, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

 

Buyers in Asia and the Middle East have bought cargoes originally headed for China, but rejected after they were found to contain Syngenta AG's Agrisure Viptera, a GMO variety known as MIR 162 that the company applied for China's approval four years ago.

 

Last week, China cancelled purchases of 54,000 tonnes of US corn, adding to the total of more than one million tonnes of rejections since November and costing the US agriculture industry billions of dollars in losses, according to the National Grain and Feed Association.

 

But port congestion in No. two corn exporter Brazil and political turmoil in No. three shipper Ukraine have led to increased buying from the US.

 

Egypt typically can buy grain more cheaply from Ukraine out of the Black Sea, but the North African country is on track to import a record amount of US corn, taking advantage of the deals axed by China.

 

Meanwhile, port workers in Brazil are busy loading record amounts of soy exports, keeping the US as the most dependable corn shipper.