December 23, 2003


Anticipate Fall In Thai Corn Prices Due To Weak Demand


Traders anticipate a fall in Thai corn prices due to weakened demand brought about by an outbreak of a virulent strain of poultry cholera.


More than 120,000 chickens were culled in several central provinces since late November to stop the spread of the poultry cholera.


Traders said they were keeping a close eye to see whether the report would affect the country's poultry exports.


"If the poultry exports are affected, it would also hit feed demand," said one.


Thailand's poultry industry has around one billion chickens. Corn, soybean and soymeal are major poultry feed ingredients.


Thailand imports almost two million tons of soymeal and a similar amount of beans annually, mostly for feed.


Its key suppliers for soymeal and beans are the United States, Brazil, Argentina and India.


Local corn was at 4.9 baht/kg ($124/tonne), versus last week's five baht. Thai corn exports were offered steady at $140/tonne FOB.


Live chicken prices were quoted steady at 23 baht/kg.


The Thai Broiler Processing Exporters Association estimated Thailand exported 500,000 tons of poultry products in 2003.


Thailand shipped 464,243 tons of poultry products in 2002. Its key buyers are Japan and the European Union.


Between January and August, Thailand shipped 374,088 tons of poultry, 7.7% up from the same period last year, according to figures from the association.


The Thai soybean and meal trade was sluggish on Tuesday, with most buyers covering their positions through to February shipment, soybean traders said.


Locally produced soymeal was steady at 12.10 baht/kg.


In 2003, American trading firm Bunge was expected to have the biggest market share of the Thai soymeal trade with 57%, followed by Cargill and Cremer Asia Trade, traders said.


(US$1 = 39.58 baht)