Prices, policy stoke overseas interest in U.S. corn

by World Grain Staff
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WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — International buyers of U.S. corn in markets like Korea, Mexico, Colombia and Taiwan are taking advantage of low prices and strong policies the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) said in early April.

In Korea, buying groups recently purchased eight cargos of corn that totaled 526,000 tonnes (20.7 million bushels), highlighting this sophisticated market’s ability to adapt quickly to changes in the market.

“U.S. corn in our market is more competitively priced than that from South America,” said Haksoo Kim, USGC director in Korea. “When taking into account availability, quality and price, U.S. corn is expected to maintain an edge in the Korean market at least until May when Brazil’s second crop corn will potentially create new dynamics.”

In recent months, this price competitiveness has also influenced sales to Mexico, which has purchased almost 10.8 million tonnes (425.2 million bushels) of U.S. corn this marketing year as of March 31. That is almost 1.6 million tonnes (63 million bushels) more than last year at the same time.

“Mexico has been a long-time, very good customer of U.S. corn and feed grains,” said Ryan LeGrand USGC director in Mexico. “Sales this year are showing the influence of the country’s growing feed sector, which is increasing demand for corn and other coarse grains that the United States can easily supply.”

Meanwhile, a free trade agreement (FTA) with Colombia is helping boost sales of U.S. corn to that country, which is again on track to fill its duty-free quota before the calendar year’s end.

“In January, Colombia’s duty-free quota reset, and U.S. corn once again had the advantage that is leading to an uptick in their purchases,” said Marri Carrow, USGC Regional Director for the Western Hemisphere. “As of March 23, Colombia had purchased almost 1.3 million tonnes (51.2 million bushels) of U.S. corn during calendar year 2016, which is more than 50 percent of their duty-free quota.”

In Taiwan, sales of U.S. corn spiked when four buying groups purchased 320,000 tonnes (12.6 million bushels) at the end of March, following a visit by Cary Sifferath USGC senior director of Global Programs to complement local market development efforts, USGC said.

“During this visit, we were able to meet with several high-ranking government officials and key industry leaders,” said Clover Chang USGC director in Taiwan. “The Taiwanese decision-makers were able to get their questions answered about U.S. corn production, supply, prices and quality, which helped build their confidence in the U.S. supply and eventually lead to these purchases.”

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