November 14, 2008
India exports corn and contracts new crop deals
India has exported 20,000 tonnes of corn at US$210-US$220 per tonne and freight since October 15, when a ban of exports lapsed, and has contracted to sell 150,000 tonnes from the new season crop at US$185-US$194 free on board.
Exported cargoes have been shipped from the southern ports of Chennai and Kakinada, and the western port of Mumbai. Export ban has dealt a blow as international prices have slumped and demand from poultry owners in the Far East has fallen substantially since July.
Heeding requests from consuming industries like poultry producers and starch manufacturers, the government banned corn exports in July but let it the restrictions end as global and domestic prices had softened.
Exporters had sold 3 million tonnes of corn at US$200-US$300 per tonne between October 2007, when the marketing year began, and July, when shipments were banned.
Production of summer-planted corn, which forms the bulk of India's annual output, was estimated at 13.04 million tonnes against 15.15 million tonnes from the year ago harvest, the farm ministry said in September.
India emerged as an important hub of global trade of around 100 million tonnes by exporting about 3 million tonnes of corn in the marketing year to September 2008.
The country has traditionally been exporting corn to its neighbouring countries like Bangladesh and Southeast Asian nations such as Vietnam and Indonesia.
Traders from the southern city of Nizabad, the main domestic market for corn, say prices are currently hovering around INR8,000 (US$162.6) per tonne, down 27 percent from INR11,000 three months ago.
International corn prices have dropped as lower crude oil has slackened demand for ethanol derived from corn.
Benchmark US corn futures closed lower on Wednesday following a decline in crude oil and a plunge in the stock market. December corn CZ8 on the Chicago Board of Trade settled down 5-Â¼ cents at US$3.69 a bushel.