Market Perspectives June 7, 2013

Country News

Argentina: Argentina exported its first major shipment of GMO corn to China this week, according to Reuters. This shipment consists of 60,000 MT of corn and left the port of Bahia Blanca on June 1. The emergence of a larger middle class eager to consume more animal protein has ensured that Chinese feed demand has consistently grown over the recent past. China traditionally has been wary of GMO grains; however, this trend may be shifting, as Chinese buyers last year accepted a small shipment of Argentine-sourced GMO corn. However, the corn is still subject to rigorous inspection by Chinese authorities and may be rejected at the port of entry.

Brazil: President Dilma Rousseff approved new regulations to increase Brazilian port efficiency and create private investment incentives in order to attract up to $12 billion in infrastructure improvements, reports Reuters. Brazil has become legendary in recent years for its logistical bottlenecks that can delay grain shipments by weeks and cause massive lineups of ships waiting to enter port. A key part of the new law, which is expected to reduce handling costs, would allow private port terminals to handle cargo for other companies instead of being limited to their own exclusive cargo interests. The government also will be auctioning off 52 leases that have expired in Brazil’s largest port of Santo, as well as 107 leases at other ports throughout the country.

Russia: The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) is reporting that cold and wet weather in the Urals and Siberia has plagued spring planting in Russia, according to Bloomberg News. The Urals and Siberia account for 17.5 percent of the country’s national crop. Despite the slow spring planting, FAS has indicated that Russia’s total grain harvest will total some 91 MMT because of the good quality of the winter grain crop and rapid corn planting in European Russia. Barley will account for 17 MMT of this year’s grain total, which is up from the 14 MMT harvested in 2012/13. Corn will also increased to 9 MMT, which is up from 8.2 MMT last year.

Spain: Farmers in the Spanish province of Leon have planted a record amount of corn this year, reports Bloomberg News. Planting rose by 8.9 percent from 62,900 hectares to 68,500 hectares on the heels of favorable spring weather and the high price of corn. Leon is Spain’s largest corn-producing province, and last year farmers there grew 591,700 MT of corn, which was 14 percent of Spain’s overall crop. Spain is the EU’s largest corn importer. It bought some 6.06 MMT of corn last year, of which 3.91 MMT were purchased from countries outside of the EU.

South Africa: South African corn prices have increased this week because of the weaker rand, which has given locally sourced grain a price advantage over imports, according to Bloomberg News. White corn for July delivery rose by 1.5 percent to $231/MT, while yellow corn gained 1.7 percent to $228.36/MT.