Middle East and North Africa Imports of Corn and Barley Rise

Imports of feed grains (corn and barley) into the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region have expanded over the last decade. This expansion has been driven by increases in poultry and livestock production as population growth and rising incomes encourage higher animal protein consumption. Since 2007/08, feed use of corn for the region is up 15 million tons and barley is up 7 million tons. Algeria, Egypt, Iran, and Saudi Arabia are the primary drivers for corn, while growth in barley has been driven mainly by Iran and Saudi Arabia. Eight of the world's top ten barley importers are MENA countries, with Saudi Arabia accounting for more than one-third of global trade.

During the same period, the U.S. corn market share has dropped significantly in MENA, with the exception of Saudi Arabia. Exports of U.S. corn to the region have fallen from 10 million tons in 2007/08 to just over 3 million tons in 2014/15 with strong U.S. domestic corn use and increasing competition from other exporters. Brazil and the European Union captured market share in Algeria, Egypt, and Tunisia due to larger exportable supplies and proximity, respectively. Likewise, Russia has become a major competitor in Turkey. Other historical suppliers, continue to maintain a large share in many of the MENA countries. Although 2015/16 U.S. exports to MENA have been slow thus far, sales and shipments are picking up on recent competitive prices and reduced exportable supplies from South America.


For 2016/17, global corn production is marginally higher with a larger forecast crop for Mexico. Global trade is lower, highlighted by reduced imports for EU and Mexico. Exports are lowered for Brazil but raised for the United States. The season-average farm price is raised.

For 2015/16, global corn production is lower from last month largely driven by a smaller crop in Brazil. Global trade is boosted to a new record with higher imports for Iran and Mexico more than offsetting a reduction to the EU. U.S. exports are raised more than offsetting lower Brazilian exports. The U.S. season-average farm price is boosted.


Since the release of the May WASDE report, FOB quotes have risen for all major exporters. U.S. quotes remain the most competitive, even after rising $23/ton to $192 on strong nearby demand and tightening competitor supplies. Argentine quotes surged $28/ton to $205 as heavy rain has delayed the harvest and made it more difficult to move the crop to ports. Brazilian quotes are up $24/ton to $203 on expectations of a smaller second crop. This is the first time that any corn quotes have risen above $200/ton since December 2014. Since May, Black Sea quotes have risen $13/ton to $198. Note: Recent Brazilian quotes are for August, while all other export quotes are for nearby (30-day) shipment.


Selected Exporters

  • U.S. corn is up 500,000 tons to 49.5 million on lower competition from Brazil. Exports for 2015/16 are also raised 2.5 million tons to 46.0 million with strong sales and shipments. Imports for 2015/16 are boosted 100,000 tons to 1.5 million on trade to date.
  • Brazilian corn is slashed 2.0 million tons to 23.0 million based on a smaller 2015/16 second-crop. Likewise, exports for 2015/16 are cut 2.0 million tons to 34.5 million.
  • EU barley is up 300,000 tons to 9.0 million on expected strong demand from North Africa and the Middle East and larger exportable supplies.
  • Ukrainian barley is up 800,000 tons to 4.0 million on greater supplies.

Selected Importers

  • EU corn is down 1.0 million tons to 12.0 million on ample supplies of domestic feedstuffs.
  • Mexican corn is cut 500,000 tons to 13.0 million based on expectations of a larger crop and ample carryin. Imports for 2015/16 are raised 500,000 tons to 12.5 million on the fast pace of imports from the United States.
  • Iranian barley is up 500,000 tons to 1.6 million, reflecting stronger expected feed demand.
  • Saudi Arabian barley is up 500,000 tons to 10.0 million as strong demand in 2015/16 is expected to continue. Imports for 2015/16 are up 500,000 tons to 9.5 million based on trade to date.


Selected Exporters

  • EU corn is raised 200,000 tons to 1.6 million based on the pace of export licenses.
  • Russian corn is up 200,000 tons to 4.4 million and barley is raised 400,000 tons to 3.8 million, both based on trade to date.
  • Australian barley is cut 300,000 tons to 5.2 million on weaker demand from China.
  • Ukrainian barley is up 300,000 tons to 3.8 million with strong demand in the Middle East and North Africa.
  • U.S. sorghum is up 400,000 tons to 7.8 million on recent food aid shipments and increased export sales.

Selected Importers

  • EU corn is cut 500,000 tons to 14.5 million reflecting smaller supplies from Brazil and greater wheat and barley availability.
  • Egyptian corn is up 250,000 tons to 8.5 million as feed demand continues to grow, evidenced by stronger-than-expected imports to date.
  • Iranian corn is boosted 500,000 tons to 5.5 million on trade to date.
  • Chinese barley is cut 500,000 tons to 7.0 million reflecting the slowing pace to date.
  • Moroccan barley is up 400,000 tons to 700,000 on higher-than-expected imports in advance of the drought-reduced 2016/17 harvest.