China Continues Importing U.S. DDGS
Despite erratic and hectic railcar availability and otherwise poor logistics reliability, DDGS imports to China continue to mark impressive growth.
For the first two months of the year, the U.S. has exported over 800,000 MT of DDGS. This equates to over 200% more than the first two months of last year and almost 40% of the entire year's worth of DDGS exports for 2012. Additionally, Chinese customs data reported 436,000 MT of DDGS imported during the month of March, up 15% month-over-month and just less than 200% year-over-year.
This blistering pace comes despite a myriad of obstacles, including the MIR 162 situation that continues without resolution and market rumors of “blacklisting” a handful of DDGS plants. JCI reports that on April 4, Qingdao Quarantine and Inspection Bureau held a meeting and issued a notice to increase inspections of imported DDGS for the unapproved MIR 162 event. For reference, China’s top ports to import DDGS for the first quarter of 2014 are, in order:
- Qingdao -- 609K MT
- Huangpu -- 338K MT
- Guangzhou -- 160K MT
- Shanghai -- 117K MT
- Xiamen -- 60,000MT
Sorghum continues to be a very popular and viable alternative to the uncertainty and risk of importing corn and DDGS. Trade sources estimate China to have purchased around 3MMT of sorghum -- which translates to just over 30% of U.S. production. Sorghum is also a very appealing feedgrain in China, because unlike corn, there is no import quota that private importers need to obtain to import it.
As a result, recent price action has driven the price of sorghum above and beyond the price of corn in the U.S. FOB Gulf prices have sorghum trading at almost a $30 premium to corn -- or roughly 112% the equivalent value. According to USDA data, China has currently taken 1.9 MMT of sorghum, with another 682,000 MT on the books and over a half million more yet to be shipped to “unknown,” which many widely speculate a lion’s share to be directed towards China.