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Japan buys U.S. corn after Brazil delays

11/09/2012 @ 7:11am

Japan has bought at least 500,000 metric tons of U.S. feed-grade corn for January-March shipment, stepping up purchases from the world's top exporter despite higher costs compared with Brazilian corn, as shipments from the South American country have been delayed, several trading executives said separately Friday.

Around 900,000 tons of Brazilian corn scheduled to be shipped to Japan between July and September has been delayed over to this quarter, the executives said.

Cargoes are taking up to two months to get loaded in Brazilian ports due to heavy congestion and competition for berths with other commodities, said an importer in Tokyo.

Another trader said some compound feed manufacturers have made emergency purchases of U.S. corn to cover their needs, adding that deliveries of many October-December shipments will spill the next quarter.

U.S. corn is being offered around $355-$365/ton, cost and freight, for January-March shipment, the traders said.

According to industry estimates, more than 30% of the purchases for the current quarter were from South America because of lower prices. Brazilian corn had traded at a $40/ton discount to U.S. origin. However, the discount has since narrowed to $20/ton because of reduced availability of Brazilian corn for February shipment, when old-crop inventories will have dwindled and the new harvest will begin, traders said.

Ukraine's corn harvest is in full swing, but importers in Japan said they were reluctant to buy from Ukraine for shipment early next year because the delivery of several cargoes was delayed in the first quarter of 2012 as ports froze.

Japan purchased a record 1.5 million tons of European corn, around half of its needs for January-March shipment, most of which was to be shipped from Ukraine.

Japan is world's largest corn importer, buying around 2.7 million tons of feed-grade corn each quarter, the second trader said.

Write to Sameer C. Mohindru at sameer.mohindru@dowjones.com
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November 09, 2012 05:38 ET (10:38 GMT)
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