Japan: Since U.S. corn prices have spiked, Japan’s use of the grain in animal feed production has fallen from 43.9 percent in April 2012 to 42.0 percent in April of this year, according to Reuters. Imports of U.S. corn in April amounted to 1.03 MMT, down by 17.7 percent from a year ago. In the meantime, the Japanese have been sourcing cheaper corn from Brazil. Imports from the South American country increased from zero in April 2012 to 40.7 percent in April 2013.
Kenya: There reportedly has been an outbreak of corn necrosis in Kenya, according to WPI, and neighboring countries are worried that imports of the diseased grain may infect their local corn crops. The Tanzanian government said it is controlling imports from Kenya to ensure that this does not happen.
Russia: Russia’s winter barley harvesting campaign began 10 days ahead of schedule in the southern regions of Krasnodar and Stavropol, reports Reuters. Thus far, farmers in these regions have harvested 148,300 MT of grain from 27,700 hectares. Yields are at 5.28 MT/hectare, which is an improvement over the yield of 2.98 MT/hectare at the start of last year’s campaign. With increased offers of new crop barley flooding the market, Russian barley export prices took a tumble. Prices fell from $255/MT two weeks ago to $248/MT FOB Black Sea last week. The first cargoes are expected to arrive in Novorossiisk by the end of the month, according to analysts.
Serbia: Serbian corn plantings decreased to 1.19 million hectares, down by 7.3 percent compared to the previous season, reports Bloomberg.
South Africa: The South African government is expected to cut its corn production forecast for 2013 once again, as drought conditions earlier in the year have negatively affected crop growth. The corn crop is now expected to be 11.44 MMT, down from 11.83 MMT last year. A Reuters survey averaging the estimates of seven trading houses pegs the crop at an even lower number: 11.37 MMT.
Meanwhile, South African white corn futures have had a volatile week, according to Bloomberg. They rose the most in nearly three weeks after the rand dropped for a fifth day, but today declined the most in a week after the rand gained against the dollar and as prices fell in Chicago. The strengthening rand improves the country’s export prospects and makes imports less expensive as well