SHANGHAI, CHINA — Chinese officials are considering permits for millions of tonnes of additional corn imports in the next year as demand for animal feed surges, according to Asia Times Financial.

New orders would make China the world’s top corn importer for the first time and likely will drive up global prices of corn and other grains.

Domestic corn prices reached record highs in October because of shortages caused by a typhoon, a drought and pests, the news agency said.

Sources said the government was considering issuing more lower-tariff quotas for buyers. It routinely issues 7.2 million tonnes in low-tariff quotas for corn imports. The nation has never before used its full annual quota.

This year, analysts have estimated it may need more than four times that quota, or 30 million tonnes, in the 2020-21 crop year.