China Corn Imports by Month

China's corn imports by month for the past three market years

This week's U.S. Grains Council Chart of the Week shows China's corn imports by month for the past three market years.

China became a major corn importer in 2009/10, purchasing 1.525 million metric tons (60 million bushels) of U.S. corn in the October/September marketing year, and 1.039 million tons (40.9 million bushels) the next year. In 2009/10 and 2010/11 China's corn imports were concentrated in the months of May through September. The chart shows, China's imports in 2011/12 increased dramatically – to 5.348 million tons (210.5 million bushels) – with significant purchases in November through February for the first time.

For the coming year the China National Grain and Oils Information Center (CNGOIC) said in an official forecast this week that corn imports "are expected to fall to 2.4 million tons (94.5 million bushels) in the 12 months ending in September 2013, down 54 percent on the year, after a drought-driven price surge caused a halt in purchases from the United States." The U.S. Department of Agriculture currently projects China's 2012/13 corn imports at 2.0 million tons (78.7 million bushels). CNGOIC projected that China would delay new import purchases until after April 2013, which is consistent with the purchasing patterns of 2009/10 and 2010/11. While the United States has enjoyed a dominant share of China's corn imports over the past three years, CNGOIC commented that China likely will purchase some corn from Ukraine and Argentina on a trial basis.