China corn imports to jump 50%, IGC says
China's corn imports may rise 50% to around 6 million metric tons in the next IGC marketing year that begins July 1, the International Grains Council said Friday.
The IGC kept China's corn import forecast unchanged for 2011-12 at 4.0 million tons.
The country's corn imports are forecast to rise for a fourth consecutive year due to strong domestic demand, high local prices and high transportation costs from northern growing areas to the south, making imports from the U.S. or Argentina cost effective, it said.
With local prices close to record highs and U.S. export prices lower, there is speculation that China may have already bought as much as 2.0 million tons of new crop U.S. corn that will be harvested from August, the IGC said.
Private importers in China may also have recently bought up to 700,000 tons of corn for near-term delivery, it said.
Earlier this month, old crop domestic corn was quoted around $385/ton in Dalian, and values further south in Guangzhou were around $406/ton, the IGC added.
U.S. corn for June shipment is currently being offered around $326-$330/ton, cost-and-freight, which is economically viable even after factoring in the 14% taxes, traders said.
The IGC also revised up its forecast for China's wheat imports in 2011-12 by 5% to 2.1 million tons, more than double the 1 million tons of actual imports in the previous year.
Rains across most of the North China Plain and northeast were beneficial for winter wheat in the reproduction stage and for the germination of spring wheat, but some areas, notably Sichuan province, remained too dry, the IGC said.
Based on average yields, the total wheat acreage is projected to be similar to last year at 24.3 million hectares, while production is forecast at 116 million tons in 2012-13, down from 117.9 million tons in the previous year.
-By Sameer Mohindru, Dow Jones Newswires; +(65) 6415-4085; firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
April 27, 2012 06:16 ET (10:16 GMT)