Market Perspectives – January 28, 2021

Country News

Argentina: The movement of grain through the Rosario export hub have returned to normal following an end to protests by truckers. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange forecasts corn planting at 93.4 percent complete. The Soybean and Corn Advisor says soil moisture for corn is now rated 13 percent short to very short and 87 percent favorable to optimum. Increased yields prompted the FAS attaché to raise estimated barley production by 150 KMT to 3.85 MMT with exports at 2.6 MMT. By contrast, drought prompted the attaché to peg 2020/21 corn production at 47 MMT, 500 KMT lower than the WASDE estimate. Corn sales are currently being rushed ahead of a rumored increase in the export tax. exports have Strong demand from China prompts the attaché to increase estimated sorghum exports by 400 KMT to 1.4 MMT.  (Reuters; Refinitiv; FAS GAIN)

Brazil: The Instituto Matogrossense de Economia Agropecuária (IMEA) forecasts the safrinha corn planting progress at 1 percent, versus 9.8 percent last year and the 9.6 percent long-term average. Deral reports corn planting in Parana at 1 percent complete, versus 2 percent a year ago. AgroConsult forecasts 2020/21 total corn production at 109 MMT, up 200 KMT from its November estimate. Recent rains prompted the Soybean and Corn Advisor to raise its estimate of maize production by 3 MMT to a total of 105 MMT. The USDA estimate is 109 MMT. However, the rains have slowed the pace of planting the safrinha corn crop as harvesting soybeans is being interrupted. Corn futures prices in Brazilian Reals hit a fresh record high, supported by the weak currency, and rallying US prices. January corn exports edge close to 2 MMT.  (Reuters; AgriCensus)

China: The purchase of 1.36 MMT of U.S. corn was the largest in six months and only the fifth time since 1994 that American corn sales to China have exceeded 1 MT in a single day. The FAS attaché in Beijing says MY 2020/21 corn imports could total 22 MMT, which is 4.5 MMT above the USDA estimate, but the CEO of a major grain supplier says the number could rise to about 25 MMT. One private firm says corn imports could be 25 to 40 MMT. Feed demand will rise 6 percent this year and one estimate is that China has bought 11.7 MMT of corn thus far this marketing year with 5.2 MMT of it already shipped. (Refinitiv; Successful Farming; FAS GAIN)

EU: Corn imports during the week ending 24 January were 150,346 MT, the lowest level since the start of the marketing year. (European Commission)

Mexico: The FAS attaché says drought coupled with limited irrigation will reduce corn production to 27.8 MMT in 2020/21. Sorghum production is estimated at 4.6 MMT and exports to China could reach 50 – 100 KMT following an agreement on phytosanitary protocols. The consultancy Grupo Consultor De Mercados Agrícolas says corn imports in 2020 were down 1.1 percent from 2019. Mexico is purchasing 35 KMT of ISCC certified malting barley from Australia’s CBH. (FAS GAIN; AgriCensus; World Grain)

Jordan: The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MIT) purchased 120 KMT of barley at $258.95/MT for June-July delivery. (AgriCensus)

Saudi Arabia: The Saudi Grains Organization (SAGO) bought 660 KMT of feed barley for March/April delivery. The average price paid was $277.65, a significant jump higher from SAGO’s previous purchase. (Reuters)

South Africa: The area planted to maize is 7 percent larger than last season as farmers are encouraged by good weather and higher prices. A Reuters survey of crop analysts predicts that the Crop Estimates Committee will increase its forecast for 2020/21 maize area to 2.78 million hectares, up from the 2.61 million hectares planted last season. USDA predicts a 16 MMT crop. Separately, a government ban on alcohol to fight Covid is hurting sales by barley to farmers to beer makers. (Refinitiv)

South Korea: After culling 23 million birds due to an outbreak of H5N8 avian influenza, this year’s feed demand is expected to be lower. (S&P Global Platts)

Ukraine: The Economy Ministry increased its estimate of 2020/21 corn production by 1 MMT to 30.3 MMT and reached agreement with unions representing farmers and grain traders to allow corn exports at 24 MMT. Livestock producers had asked the Ministry to limit corn exports to 22 MMT. Prior to the announced increase, corn prices had declined $5 – $6/MT to the equivalent of $6.46 – $6.73/bushel. With this past week’s loading of 800 KMT, corn exports this marketing year have surpassed 11 MMT. (Reuters; Refinitiv; AgrCensus)