News & Events
Lower oilseed and grain prices have prompted a bevy of overseas buying. Corn prices have fallen to a three year low, amidst huge and better than expected harvest reports. Last week, the USDA reported net corn sales of 1.3 million metric tons (51.2 million bushels) and more than a quarter million tons (9.8 million bushels) of new sorghum sales. The bulk of the new sales are destined for unknown destinations, accounting for 428,000 tons (16.8 million bushels) of corn and almost 176,000 tons (6.9 million bushels) of sorghum.
By: Byong Ryol Min, U.S. Grains Council director in Korea
In 2012 Korea was the third largest corn importer in the world and the fourth largest market for U.S. corn. Yet because of the drought of 2012, U.S. imports have dropped to less than 1 percent so far in the 2013 calendar year, according to Korean import statistics. This has propelled the U.S. Grains Council to engage in aggressive programming to reinvigorate Korean buyers for U.S. corn.
Next stops: Korea and China.
MAIZALL is on the move. Earlier this year, the U.S. Grains Council joined the National Corn Growers Association, and MAIZAR and ABRAMHILO, the leading corn producer's organizations in Argentina and Brazil, in announcing a strategic alliance focused on food security, market access, and biotechnology. Since then, the partners have worked hard on governance issues, bylaws, articles of incorporation, and funding. And now, after two years of discussion and a year of concentrated effort, MAIZALL is lifting off.
With the recent summit held in Durban, South Africa, it appears as though BRICS are changing from an acronym used to describe a loose alliance of Brazil's, Russia's, India's, China's and South Korea's national economies to a global economic agenda. However, don't expect the BRICS to be leading the world in corn imports. Kevin Roepke, U.S. Grains Council manager of global trade, has coined his own developing nation alliance of grain imports term, or in other words, a "BRICS of the global grain trade."
"The American agricultural system is astounding. We will overproduce again, you can bank on it," said Kelly Davis of the Renewable Fuels Association. During her presentation at a U.S. Grains Council organized conference in South Korea, Davis reassured longtime customers of the United States ability to produce enough for its three major markets: ethanol, domestic livestock and exports.
History repeats itself. The U.S. Grains Council and National Corn Growers Association officers find parallel trends between mature and developing markets.
The influence of the Council's programs was apparent in the two long-standing, loyal U.S. markets of Japan and Korea, according to USCG chairman Don Fast, with all signs pointing to the same future success in the emerging market of China. Fast was speaking from China, where he was leading the 2013 Officers Mission.
Price, price, price ... talks this week with major South Korean importers send one message loud and clear: Korea has a strong preference for U.S. corn provided that it is competitively priced.
The U.S. Grains Council's 2013 Officers Mission heads to Korea, China and Japan, March 18-28, where attendees will visit with key customers and end users, providing details and receiving feedback on the U.S. 2012-13 corn crop.
"Ever since the drought took hold last year, we've been getting questions. It's important to service these customers, present our harvest quality report, listen to their concerns and share our thoughts for the upcoming crop year," said Tom Sleight, USGC president and CEO.
Sales of U.S. barley and malting barley to Korea jumped significantly in 2012 thanks to implementation of the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) a year ago this week and to timely promotions of barley by the U.S. Grains Council and other organizations.