November 30, 2023


China buys cheaper corn from Brazil, causing drop in US exports, agriculture official says




China took advantage of lower prices for corn in Brazil, leading to a nearly 20% drop in US exports to China, said US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on November 29.


However, he expected the numbers to rise again over time.


Vilsack told Reuters in an interview that the US government was working hard to reduce US exporters' over-reliance on China and other big markets, and encourage greater diversification.


"The reality is that our market has been a little tight ... and our prices are a little higher than our friends in Brazil and in South America, and so as a result, China is taking the opportunity as they often do, to take advantage of low cost," Vilsack said. "Over time, we'll continue to see a righting and balancing of that."


He made no specific prediction for future corn purchase levels by China.


Exports of US agricultural and related products to China through September totaled about US$19.9 billion, the slowest pace in three years and down 18% from January-September 2022, according to US Census Bureau trade data. Exports to all countries are only down 12%.


Oilseeds and grains are the top US exports to China, accounting for US$25.4 billion last year, far ahead of other goods such as semiconductors.


However, Brazil has been taking the US share of the Chinese market after harvesting bumper crops of soybeans and corn.



- Reuters

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