It’s early, but China is No. 1 buyer of U.S. corn
Thanks to a buying spree, China is far and away the top customer for U.S. corn six weeks into the marketing year, said chief executive Ryan LeGrand of the U.S. Grains Council on Thursday. Its purchases of 10.4 million tonnes for delivery during 2020/21 are twice as large as sales to date to Mexico, usually the No. 1 importer.
“Our top customer for the current crop year … off to a very rapid start,” said LeGrand during an Agribusiness Council of Kansas City webinar. The “phase one” Sino-U.S. trade agreement may be a factor, he said, although Chinese importers are practical. “They buy what they need when they need it and the price is right for them.”
The USDA says 1.1 million tonnes of the corn purchases have been shipped to China; the rest of the 10.4 million tonnes remain on order. Exporters have sold 4.7 million tonnes of corn to Mexico for delivery this marketing year, with 941,000 tonnes shipped. Mexico has been the top market for U.S. corn for several years. In the past marketing year, it imported about 14.5 million tonnes, while China bought roughly 2.3 million tonnes.
Private exporters have reported sales of 420,000 tonnes of U.S. corn and 525,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans to China so far this week.