China Corn Imports Hit 15-Year High With Months to Go


China imported more corn in the first nine months of 2020 than in any full year in about 15 years, with the nation boosting purchases on shrinking state stockpiles and to meet its trade commitments with the U.S.

A delayed domestic harvest in the northeastern corn belt of China, the world’s second-largest consumer of the grain, pushed up domestic corn futures this week to a 16-year high. Government officials expect that the market will ease as the new crop harvesting will be completed by the end of this month.

The country is set for bumper production this year despite typhoon damage in the northeast. That will help in improving supplies at a time when demand has been strong due to a fast recovery in hog breeding and rising use by alcohol and starch makers.

READ: China Set to Be Top World Corn Buyer on Crop Woes and Demand

China imported 1.1 million tons of corn in September, a jump of 675% from a year earlier, according to official customs data. That was the highest level since 2016. Between January and September, inbound shipments climbed 73% to 6.67 million tons, the highest since at least 2005, data showed.

Imports of sorghum, a substitute for corn, gained more than four times in September from a year earlier, while barley purchases advanced 57%, data showed Friday.

China’s imports
Sept. wheat imports 1.07m tons, +584.5% y/y
Jan-Sept. wheat imports rose 168.1% y/y to 6.06m tons
Sept. rice imports 160,000 tons, -11.4% y/y
Jan-Sept. rice imports fell 2.9% y/y to 1.68m tons
Sept. barley imports 1.34m tons, +57.1% y/y
Jan-Sept. barley imports rose 0.9% y/y to 4.64m tons
Sept. sorghum imports 570,000 tons, +356.1% y/y
Jan-Sept. sorghum imports rose 462.8% y/y to 3.5m tons

— With assistance by Atul Prakash, and Shuping Niu

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