October 22, 2012


Japan's corn feed use down in August to 20-year low


For the eighth month in a row, Japan's use of corn in animal feed dropped in August to hit a 20-year low, as users shifted away from US corn, which price hit a record high after the world's biggest supplier suffered its worst drought in decades.


Preliminary Japanese government data released on Friday (Oct.19) showed the ratio of corn in animal feed fell to 42.7% in August, compared with 44.7% in the same month a year ago.


Every annual percentage point decline in the amount of corn used in animal feed is likely to cut Japan's imports by 200,000 tonnes a year, according to a Reuters calculation.


Japanese corn users' appetite for US corn may stay low, as prices stopped falling at around US$7.50 per bushel this month. The USDA's latest quarterly grain stocks data had shown weaker-than-expected corn supplies in the US.


The ratio of wheat in Japan's feed production in August rose to 4.3%, the highest in at least in two decades, from 1.3% a year earlier, the farm ministry data showed.


For the first eight months of the year, Japan imported 9.97 million tonnes of corn, down 2.8% from a year earlier, customs-cleared trade data show. US origin accounted for 83% during the period, down from 95% a year earlier.


About 65-70% of Japan's corn imports go into animal feed, and the rest into corn starch and other food items.

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