Business / Economy

Corn imports show steady growth

(Agencies) Updated: 2015-01-24 08:02

Corn imports by China, the world's second-biggest consumer, jumped in December as shipments from Ukraine surged from the previous month.

Total purchases more than doubled from November to 607,323metric tons, of which 393,924 tons were from the eastern European country, according to data released by the General Administration of Customs on Friday.

"Ukraine may use the exports to China as payments for loans," said Cherry Zhang, an analyst at Shanghai JC Intelligence Co. "Volumes also jumped because of ample supply in Ukraine following the harvesting season."

Total inbound shipments fell 20percent to 2.6million tons in 2014 as a ban on some types of genetically modified corn, which was lifted in December, curbed purchases.

The final import figure beat an estimate of 2.4million tons by the China National Grain& Oils Information Center. Purchases of a corn-based feedstock known as dried distillers grains are forecast to rise 45 percent this year to 5.8million tons, China National Grain said in an email on Jan 12.

Purchases rose as China, already the biggest market for United States food and largest buyer of its soybeans and cotton, pushes forward with a campaign to gain public acceptance of genetically modified food.

The US remained the biggest corn supplier to China last year, even as imports by China slumped 65 percent from2013, according to the customs data.

Imports from US could rise after China in December reduced curbs against supplies containing the unapproved MIR 162 strain owned by Syngenta AG, according to Zhang at Shanghai JC. The country had rejected more than 1.2 million tons of the US grain since 2013 because it contained MIR 162, Shanghai JC estimated last month.

China's imports of cotton in December almost tripled from the previous month to 264,418 tons. Inbound shipments during the full year declined 41 percent to 2.44million tons.

Wheat imports declined 46 percent to 3million tons. The decline reflected an ample domestic harvest, said Fan Jingya, a grain analyst from COFCO Futures Co in Beijing.

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