Malaysia returns to U.S. corn to feed chickens

Brazil's crop failure leads Malaysia to purchase U.S. corn again after five-year hiatus.

Residents of Malaysia eat a lot of chicken - upwards of 110 lb. per year per person. Now, more of those chickens will soon be eating U.S. corn, thanks to the recent arrival of a 68,100 metric ton (2.68 million bu.) bulk shipment, the second shipment received from U.S. origin recently following a five-year purchasing hiatus.

The U.S. Grain Council (USGC) said barges of corn from up to seven American states recently traversed the Mississippi River to the Port of New Orleans, La., before departing on a 35- to 40-day overseas voyage to Port Klang in Malaysia.

USGC noted that Malaysian traders are predisposed to South American corn, but Brazil’s crop failure last year and a subsequent slashing of corn exports led them to turn to the most cost-effective and reliable origination point for corn around the globe: the U.S..

“The arrival of this corn cargo into Malaysia brings total corn imports to more than 162,000 metric tons (6.38 million bu.) for this crop year,” said Kevin Roepke, regional director for USGC. “This year’s crop quality is excellent, which, in combination with challenges in logistics, production and price, led Malaysian buyers to turn back to U.S.-origin corn.”

Significant engagement from USGC played a role in the new purchases, culminating with the first shipment of U.S. corn received in August 2016.

“Malaysia represents a growing market for U.S. grain exports, thanks to increasing demand for livestock - including chickens - and a diminishing ability to meet that need locally,” USGC explained. “Animal feed demand across the Southeast Asia region continues to grow undeterred, driven by the dynamic livestock sector as well as interest and investment in the region’s feed sector.”

As such, USGC said it will continue working to identify opportunities to increase U.S. market share in the region, resulting in win-win trade outcomes for U.S. feed grains and end users in countries like Malaysia.

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