Competitors Replace U.S. Corn Exports

Since 2009/10, declining U.S. corn exports have been replaced by just three competitors. Over the same time period, there has been only a small boost in world corn trade.

In past major U.S. production short falls (1988/89 and 1995/96), large stocks limited price gains and buffered U.S. exports, thereby reducing incentives for other countries to expand production. In recent years, however, high U.S. prices resulting from strong domestic demand and low stocks have stimulated competitor production. Record supplies in Argentina, Brazil, and Ukraine (combined) coincided with the U.S. drought in 2012, resulting in Brazil becoming the world’s largest corn exporter.

The March 28 Grain Stocks report showed higher-than-expected stocks and caught the industry by surprise.

U.S. export prices have subsequently plunged about $40 per ton ($1.00 per bushel). However, the United States is still uncompetitive and it remains to be seen whether these falling prices boost U.S. export sales near-term. Argentina and Brazil are in the midst of harvesting record crops and therefore prices are likely to be pressured further.

Looking to 2013/14, there are expectations for record U.S. plantings and a record crop. This would likely depress prices and ultimately impact planting decisions for Argentina and Brazil 6 months from now.

WHEAT: WORLD MARKETS AND TRADE

OVERVIEW

Global trade is up slightly. U.S. exports are unchanged but raised for the EU and Ukraine. 

World prices are sliding in anticipation of the new Northern Hemisphere crop season. The season-average U.S. farm price is unchanged and remains a record.

Domestic: Prices for winter wheat crops dropped while Hard Red Spring (HRS) remained unchanged. Soft Red Winter (SRW) prices fell $16 to $277/ton. Hard Red Winter (HRW) slid $5 to $317/ton and Soft White Winter (SWW) declined $3 to $320/ton.

TRADE CHANGES IN 2012/13

Selected Exporters

• EU is boosted 1.0 million tons to 20.5 million on strong licenses and sales.

• Ukraine is raised 500,000 tons to 7.0 million. Small quantities are still being exported outside of the government Memorandum of Understanding with the private trade limiting exports.

Selected Importers

• Algeria is boosted 700,000 tons to 6.2 million due to recent purchases of French soft wheat. 

• Bangladesh is cut 400,000 tons to 2.6 million in view of lower-than-expected purchases of Indian wheat. 

• Ethiopia is doubled 500,000 tons to 1.0 million as a result of the stronger-than-expected purchases. 

• Iran is up 1.0 million tons to 5.0 million spurred by large deliveries and recent purchases of Australian wheat. 

• Mexico is lowered 300,000 tons to 3.9 million on lower-than-expected purchases of U.S. wheat. 

• Morocco is slashed 700,000 tons to 3.3 million due to the slower-than-expected pace. In addition, its winter wheat crop is in good condition, thereby reducing the need for nearby purchases. 

• Nigeria is boosted 300,000 tons to 4.0 million on account of the import pace. 

• Russia is cut 500,000 tons to 1.0 million due to fewer shipments from Kazakhstan. 

• United Arab Emirates is raised 300,000 tons to 1.6 million because of the strong pace thus far. 

• Vietnam is cut 300,000 tons to 2.1 million as a result of limited supplies of Australian feed-quality wheat.

RICE: WORLD MARKETS AND TRADE

OVERVIEW

Global rice production and consumption are forecast down slightly. Stocks are up marginally, including higher levels in the United States (based on a higher-than-expected USDA Rice Stocks report released on March 28). Trade is essentially unchanged. The U.S. season-average farm price remains unchanged.

U.S. export quotes continued to rise as Thai 100B held steady. Other Asian quotes have declined. The difference between U.S. and Vietnamese quotes is now greater than $250/ton. 

This unusually wide spread has only occurred three times in the past 20 years. The current gap reflects tight U.S. export supplies at the same time as Vietnam is aggressively marketing an abundant harvest. 

TRADE CHANGES

Selected Exporters 

• Pakistan is slashed 500,000 tons to 3.3 million in 2013 as lower production and constrained milling capacity reduce exportable supplies.

• Burma is raised 150,000 tons to 750,000 in 2013 on larger volumes to Thailand and China. 

• Venezuela is up 100,000 tons to 150,000 in 2012 and up 150,000 tons to 200,000 in 2013 as price differences with Colombia spur additional trade. 

Selected Importers

• China is raised 100,000 tons to 2.7 million in 2012 and 200,000 tons to 2.4 million in 2013 as lower-quality rice for processing continues to cross the border. 

• Colombia is boosted 155,000 tons to 330,000 tons in 2012 and 220,000 tons to 400,000 tons in 2013 as lower-priced imports from neighbouring countries compensate for lower production. 

• Iran is cut 100,000 tons to 1.7 million in 2013 as Western Hemisphere purchases only partially offset sharply lower shipments from Pakistan. 

• Thailand is up 200,000 tons to 600,000 in 2013 due to larger broken rice shipments from neighbouring countries and increased paddy rice smuggling. 

• Vietnam is halved to 100,000 tons in 2013 as some of the rice typically sent to Vietnam for milling is being returned to Cambodia because of favourable prices there.

COARSE GRAINS: WORLD MARKETS AND TRADE

OVERVIEW

Global corn production is up slightly. However, consumption is down (and stocks boosted) because of lower indicated U.S. feed and residual disappearance from USDA’s Grain Stocks report. Consumption is also down in China. Global corn trade is mostly unchanged. The season average farm price is reduced again this month but remains a record. 

PRICES

U.S. corn quoted have fallen precipitously, declining $43 to $273/ton, since the release of the Grain Stocks report, which showed higher-than-expected March 1 stocks, Argentine and Ukrainian quotes have followed U.S. prices lower. Although the Argentine price remains at a substantial ($40/ton) discount to U.S. corn, this gap has narrowed about 20 percent ($9/ton) in recent days.

TRADE CHANGES IN 2012/13

Selected Exporters

• U.S. corn is cut 500,000 tons to 22.0 million as the slow pace of sales and shipments continues, despite lower quotes.

• Brazil corn is raised 500,000 tons to 25.0 million based on a larger crop.

• South African corn is slashed 500,000 tons to 2.0 million because of a smaller crop.

• Ukrainian corn is up 500,000 tons to 13.5 million based on the pace of shipments, primarily to the EU.

• Argentine sorghum is boosted 200,000 tons to 3.4 million on stronger demand from Colombia.

• EU barley is raised 200,000 tons to 4.0 million on the current pace of shipments, reflecting less competition from Russia and Ukraine.

Selected Importers

• Chilean corn is boosted 250,000 tons to 800,000 because of a smaller crop.

• Chinese corn is up 500,000 tons to 3.0 million based on the pace of deliveries.

• Colombian corn is cut 300,000 tons to 3.2 million as imported sorghum is substituting for corn in feed rations. (Colombian sorghum is raised 200,000 tons to a record 800,000.) 

• Egyptian corn is down 500,000 tons to 4.0 million on account of a sluggish pace.

• Indonesian, Turkish, and Vietnamese corn are up a combined 700,000 tons based on trade to date.

• Mexican corn is reduced 500,000 tons to 8.0 million with slow imports and weaker feed demand.

• U.S. sorghum is raised 70,000 tons to a record 100,000 because of reports of further shipments from Argentina. 

• Morocco barley is halved to 250,000 tons on improved pasture conditions.