South Korea

Supply/Demand Basics

  • Coarse grains demand of 13 MMT/ year – 98.0% imported: 78% for feed, 16% corn milling, 6% alcohol and others.
  • #4 import market of U.S. corn in MY 2019/2020.
  • #3 import market of U.S. DDGS in MY 2019/2020.
  • #4 import market of U.S. ethanol in MY 2019/2020.
  • Livestock industry and compound feed market growing marginally.

Country Overview

  • Asia’s 4th and world’s 10th largest economy.
  • No progress in North Korea’s denuclearization nor inter-Korean economic cooperation.
  • Facing sluggish domestic demand, low youth unemployment, falling birth rates and aging population.

Trade and Market Share Overview

  • Sophisticated price buyer; U.S. share is very volatile depending on the prices.
  • Corn quality (higher BCFM) has been a chronic issue.
  • U.S. DDGS imports set the new record for 7th consecutive year in MY 2019/20 despite COVID-19.
  • The surge in demand for hand sanitizer products has greatly increased U.S. ethanol imports.
  • U.S. barley import has decreased due to the weak price competitiveness.

Policy Overview

  • MOTIE includes pilot project review for ethanol RFS in mid-term energy master plan in 2020.
  • Import tolerance registration of temporarily registered MRLs is required by December 31, 2021.
  • The regulatory direction for New Breeding Technology has not yet been determined by the government.
  • The Korean government has declared that it will achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.