November 30, 2010


Japan's Marubeni joins battle for Asian markets



Japanese grain trader, Marubeni, intends to take on the world's largest agricultural commodity traders in shipping to emerging Asian markets as demand at home moderates, Japanese media reported on Monday (Nov 29).


Marubeni is currently the world's sixth largest grain trader by volume and it expects to trade 20 million tonnes of crops such as wheat, corn, and soy this year, of which only six million tonnes will be sold in Japan, the media reported.


The company intends to export 25 million tonnes to customers by 2012 or 2013, said Chief Executive, Teruo Asada. The increase in export is making it a rival to the likes of ADM, Bunge, and Cargill in the US, France's Louis Dreyfus, and Swiss-based Glencore.


Japanese commodity traders have traditionally focused on imports of products such as oil to make up for limited resources at home but a shrinking population and unimpressive economic growth have led them to turn elsewhere, the report noted.


"The grain majors are simply supplying corn, soy, and other grains to China but we are using our grain to get into related businesses like milling and animal feed processing. That is the kind of thing a general trading company can do," Asada said.