After two consecutive years of low market share for U.S. corn exports to the Middle East and North Africa, the 2013-14 marketing year has seen a sharp rebound in U.S. corn sales and shipments to the region. From the beginning of the marketing year through April 10, outstanding sales and accumulated exports of U.S. corn to North Africa and the Middle East are more than 2.8 million metric tons (110 million bushels), up from 204,500 tons (8 million bushels) the previous year over the same time period.
This week's U.S. Grains Council Chart of the Week shows outstanding sales and accumulated exports of U.S. corn to North Africa and the Middle East for the past three marketing years, which began Sept. 1, through Mid-April for each listed year. With U.S. corn returning to more normal pricing in the 2013/2014 marketing year, Egypt, Israel, Morocco and Algeria have all returned to purchasing U.S. corn. Also, Tunisia has once again begun sourcing corn from the United States.
- Corn market size estimated at 3.6 MMT. Insignificant local crop.
- #1 barley importer in the world with 8 MMT.
- 487 TMT import of corn co-products.
- Quality market but also sensitive to price.
- Population: 32.1 million
- Population growth: 1.96%
- Urban %: 78.9%
- Urban growth: 2.5%
- GDP: $1.68 trillion
- GDP growth: 3.6%
- GDP per capita: $52,183
- Oil-based economy with strong government controls over major economic activities.
- Largest corn market in the region, 8.2 MMT imports in CY 2016.
- Nearly 6 MMT of local corn crop, mostly white corn.
- #1 import market for U.S. CGM importing 143 TMT in MY 2016; #12 import market for U.S. DDGS with 132 TMT in MY 2016.
- Price-sensitive market; quality less important than price.
By: Cary Sifferath, U.S. Grains Council Regional Director in Middle East and Africa
With U.S. corn and corn co-products priced competitively again, U.S. market share in the Middle East and North Africa region has begun to expand. For examples, Saudi Arabian buyers have begun purchasing U.S. corn and corn co-products again; Egyptian importers have purchased 638,000 metric tons (25.1 million bushels) of U.S. corn for April, May and June shipments on top of the 160,000 tons (6.3 million bushels) that was shipped in December and January; and there have been strong sales of U.S. corn co-products to Turkey, Egypt and Morocco.
Things are looking up for U.S. corn exports to the Middle East and North Africa region.
"With U.S. corn priced competitively again, U.S. market share in the Middle East and North Africa region has potential to expand," said Cary Sifferath, U.S. Grains Council regional director in the Middle East and Africa. "The region is already seeing an increase in U.S. corn imports."
By: Erick Erickson, U.S. Grains Council director of Global Strategies
Strong consumer demand and unrelenting competition define the poultry industry in North Africa and the Middle East. Last week, industry leaders from 65 poultry companies from the region attended a conference hosted by Elanco Animal Health where I had the pleasure of presenting a global grain outlook.
The U.S. Grains Council, in August 2011, successfully achieved the inclusion of distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS), corn gluten feed and other U.S. commodities on the Saudi Arabian import subsidy list. Inclusion on this import subsidy list is essential in eliciting interest from Saudi importers of these products. This effort paid off when a Saudi Arabian company, ARASCO, purchased a bulk shipment of U.S. DDGS destined to reach Saudi Arabia in January 2014.
"I'm so old I remember when all communications between the U.S. Grains Council's D.C. office and the overseas offices were via fax and Sprintmail," says Cary Sifferath, now marking 20 years of Council service.
Sifferath, USGC regional director for the Middle East and Africa, has weathered difficult times during his Council career, from the Southeast Asia economic crisis of 1997/98, when he was in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to biotech corn issues when he ran the Japan office and more recently the Arab Spring movement, which began outside his front door in Tunisia.