Thanks to high demand for American-grown corn, soybeans, and meat, U.S. farm exports will soar to a record $164 billion this year, far above the current mark of $152.3 billion, set in 2014, said the Agriculture Department on Wednesday. China, reclaiming its spot as the No. 1 customer, would account for $1 of every $5 in overseas sales.
Private exporters reported the sale of 1.15 million tonnes of U.S. corn for delivery to China by the end of August, said the USDA on Tuesday. The corn, equivalent to 45.3 million bushels, was worth $251 million based on futures prices in Chicago.
China, the world's largest importer of soybeans and cotton, is developing an appetite for corn as well as it expands livestock production. Exporters reported sales totaling 3.74 million tonnes of U.S. corn to China in three days this week.
Thanks to a buying spree, China is far and away the top customer for U.S. corn six weeks into the marketing year, said chief executive Ryan LeGrand of the U.S. Grains Council on Thursday. Its purchases of 10.4 million tonnes for delivery during 2020/21 are twice as large as sales to date to Mexico, usually the No. 1 importer.
China is far short of meeting its "phase one" commitment to buy huge amounts of U.S. food and ag exports, but Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said, "We expect a big shipping season this fall." On Thursday, Chinese companies made one of the largest corn purchases in half a century of USDA records.
U.S. farmers will harvest their smallest corn and soybean crops since 2013, but the trade war will constrain exports of America’s two major crops for the second year in a row, forecast the USDA on Monday. Soybeans would sell at the lowest average price at the farm gate in 13 years.
The WTO ruled in favor of the United States in its complaint that China had rigged its tariff system to constrict entry of foreign-grown grain. The ruling was the second U.S. victory in seven weeks against trade-distorting Chinese agricultural practices.
Thanks to continued strong demand from overseas buyers, U.S. corn exports this trade year could be the second highest ever, the Foreign Agricultural Service said on Thursday.
American corn faces import levies of up to 25 percent, according to a 10-page list of potential targets for retaliatory tariffs released by the European Commission, reported AgriCensus. The tariffs would counter the Trump administration's announcement that it intends to imose high tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum.
U.S. corn farmers are seeking federal court approval of a $1.5-billion settlement with Syngenta for its decision to sell them a GMO corn variety before China had approved it for import, reported Reuters.
With the seventh round of NAFTA negotiations underway, the Mexican National Federation of Corn Farmers said the redrawn pact should limit corn imports into the country, reported Xinhua, the Chinese news agency.
Brazil, the agricultural giant of South America, will supplant the United States as the world's largest corn exporter before a decade passes, says a top Brazilian commodity consultant. The prediction underlines diminishing U.S. dominance of the world market. Brazil already is the largest soybean exporter and a close second to the U.S. as a soybean grower.
Mexico is the largest customer for U.S. corn exports, and with negotiations under way for a new NAFTA there is "a grassroots and political push" in Mexico for larger domestic farm production, says Cronkite News. The initiative is partly a response to President Trump's anti-NAFTA and anti-Mexico statements and partly a desire for more self-reliance.
The International Grains Council sharply boosted its estimate of corn consumption in China, pointing to government measures expected to drive up industrial use of the grain 14 percent during 2017/18. The shift in Chinese consumption will affect grain stockpiles worldwide, said the IGC in its monthly Grain Market Report, with the first reduction in five years in the grain "carryover" at the end of the marketing year.
In 2013, China drove down corn prices by rejecting U.S. cargoes that included a GMO variety sold by Syngenta that had not yet been approved for import by Beijing. The disruption led to lawsuits against the Swiss agribusiness, which may pay close to $1.5 billion to settle the litigation, said Reuters.
In the first of several class-action lawsuits pending against Syngenta, a federal-court jury awarded $217.7 million to farmers who blamed the seed company for a collapse in corn prices when China rejected cargoes of corn that included the genetically modified Syngenta strain.