Mexico buys most U.S. corn in nearly a year

By Mark Weinraub

CHICAGO, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Mexican buyers booked deals to buy their largest volume of corn from the United States since December 2019, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Thursday.

The sale for 1.433 million tonnes of U.S. corn comes after Mexico's most productive farmers said they may not be able to meet growing demand after state funding cuts and warned of a rising reliance on imports.

USDA said that 891,540 tonnes of corn was booked for delivery in the current 2020/21 marketing year that ends on Aug. 31, with the balance scheduled to be shipped in 2021/22.

The so-called flash sale was the biggest to the largest buyer of U.S. corn since Dec. 12, 2019, when a deal for 1.6 million tonnes was announced.

The sale came as corn prices hover around their highest since August 2019 and China discusses importing millions of additional tonnes of corn over the next year, a move that would make it the top global importer of the grain and amplify food inflation caused by disruptions to global supply chains due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Mexico typically books a massive purchase of U.S. corn during the fall when supplies are abundant as farmers are harvesting.

A separate USDA report on Thursday morning showed that as of Oct. 22, Mexican buyers have booked deals to buy 5.757 million tonnes of U.S. corn since the marketing year began, and already imported 1.669 million tonnes. A year ago, Mexico's marketing year total for purchases came to 6.110 million tonnes and imports stood at 1.779 million tonnes. (Reporting by Mark Weinraub; editing by David Evans)

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