October 21, 2004
Argentina's August Corn, Wheat Exports Up 69% From Year Ago
Argentina's efforts to export more wheat to non-traditional markets are working, according to the latest data from the Agriculture Secretariat Wednesday.
The South American nation exported 643,669 metric tons of wheat in August, or about 69% more than the 380,410 tons shipped during the same month a year ago, Secretariat data show.
Exports rose as Argentina shipped more wheat to new destinations, filling a gap left by competing suppliers who were unable to export because of climatic problems that weakened their production. In addition, lower local wheat prices have made Argentine wheat more attractive to importers.
Yet even as exports rose, sales to Brazil - Argentina's top trade partner and the traditional buyer of as much as 90% its wheat exports - declined.
Brazil bought 320,553 tons of wheat in August, or 12.8% less than the 367,729 tons it bought a year earlier.
Brazil is buying less mainly because its own wheat harvest is bigger, reducing the need to import wheat. But while Brazilian demand is down, Argentina has been compensating by exporting more to non-traditional markets such as Egypt, Kenya, Mozambique, Sri Lanka and South Africa.
In August, Argentina shipped wheat to 10 countries, compared with only two during the same month a year ago.
South Africa ranked second as the biggest buyer of Argentine wheat in August, accounting for 93,090 tons compared with none year earlier.
Kenya came in third with 81,020 tons against none a year ago.
Argentina produced an estimated 14.5 million tons of 2003-04 wheat, compared with only 12.3 million tons the previous year.
The US Department of Agriculture has estimated that Argentina will export eight million metric tons of 2003-04 wheat. In 2004-05, exports will rise to 8.5 million, according to the USDA.
Meanwhile, Argentina exported 845,784 tons of corn in August, which is 68.6% more than the 501,579 tons exported during the same month a year ago.
Sales rose as Indonesia bought 172,006 tons in August, compared with none a year earlier. This made the Asian nation Argentina's top corn importer in August.
Sales to neighboring South American countries also rose. For instance, Chile ranked second, accounting for 109,037 tons compared with 70,200 tons a year ago.
Saudi Arabia came in third in August, importing 97,237 tons, down from the 121,604 tons it bought a year ago.
Argentina was the world's No. 3 corn exporter in 2003, behind China and the US. The South American nation is set to recover the No. 2 spot this year as it exports more than China, according to USDA estimates.
Argentina is on track to export 8.65 million tons of 2003-04 corn, the USDA estimates. Next year, this figure will rise to 11 million tons, according to the USDA.