Surge in corn prices causes concern
( 2003-10-25 09:54) (China Daily HK Edition)
Corn prices in China have jumped following a surge in soy prices, triggering speculation the country may seek imports in 2004, traders and analysts said Friday.
To the surprise of many, corn prices in the southern province of Guangdong rose by 100 yuan (US$13) per ton to close to 1,400 yuan in a day or two, even as the harvest continued in the northeastern province of Jilin.
"What this told me is that Chinese corn supply versus demand is not as abundant as government officials thought," said an analyst based in Beijing.
"Corn supply early next year will be quite tight. Probably some imports are going to happen, maybe next year."
In Chicago on Thursday, corn futures soared on talk that COFCO, one of China's two authorized corn exporters, had raised export prices by US$15 to US$140 per ton, FOB.
Most traders ascribed the corn price increases to soaring soy prices in China. That had led feed millers to use more corn instead of soymeal, now priced at around 3,000 yuan (US$363) per ton. In addition, they said it was difficult to transport corn south from the northeastern provinces because of delays in the harvest and strong exports as regional buyers avoid corn from further overseas due to high freight rates.
Still, the traders and analysts agreed that corn supply was tight in China, the world's No 2 exporter of corn this year with shipments of 12 million tons or more.
They put Chinese annual domestic corn consumption at about 130 million tons, with a fast growth in meat consumption pushing up demand from animal feed producers.
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