Vietnam: US Corn Quality Scores Points

Vietnam U.S. Corn Exports

In recent years, Vietnam has emerged as a consistent market for U.S. distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS), but corn exports have been constrained by regional competition from India and a $5 to 7 per ton shipping advantage for South America versus U.S. corn from the Gulf. A recent spike in U.S. corn exports, however, is providing an opportunity for the U.S. Grains Council to educate buyers about U.S. quality and reliability.

In recent years, "U.S. corn has suffered from the perception on the part of some buyers that it is too wet for the Southeast Asian climate," said Adel Yusupov, USGC regional director of Southeast Asia. "But at the moment, Vietnam is taking record amounts of U.S. corn, and we are hearing good reports on quality. No complaints. Buyers have long memories -- and we are going to help them remember this."

The recent surge in U.S. corn exports to Vietnam is the result of the interruption of U.S. corn exports to China. This has forced the redirection of China-bound cargos to other Asian markets, and Vietnam is among the countries that have seized the opportunity.

So far this year, Vietnam has taken 188,000 metric tons (7.4 million bushels) of U.S. corn, compared to the previous U.S. export peaks of 54,400 tons (2.1 million bushels) in 2009 and 30,900 tons (1.2 million bushels) in 2010. While these are episodic and opportunistic sales, buyer exposure to U.S. quality and availability are important pluses going forward.

With rapid economic growth and booming demand for more livestock and dairy products, Vietnam's corn imports are on a long-term upward trend. While the South American shipping advantage remains, the United States typically has an export window during the gap between the disappearance of Argentine corn from the market in the early fall and the availability of the Brazilian new crop in December.

Over the winter months, Yusupov found a receptive audience among Vietnamese buyers for the 2013/2014 USGC Corn Harvest Quality Report, and he has escorted Vietnamese buyers to the United States to inspect U.S. production and shipping systems. He plans to be back in Vietnam in early April to meet again with buyers and end-users at a corn outlook seminar.

"This is a growing market," Yusupov said. "We have established U.S. DDGS as a consistent presence, and we want to use our success in DDGS, and the current spike in U.S. corn shipments, to position U.S. corn for future sales."