Current sales volumes could exceed marketing year-end corn exports to China for last seven marketing years.

April 3, 2020

2 Min Read
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The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) said this week that an announcement of 756,000 metric tons (29.8 million bu.) of U.S. corn sold to China the week ending March 19, 2020, demonstrated follow-through on commitments made in the U.S.-China Phase One agreement signed in January and provided much-needed positive demand news for U.S. farmers.

The single sale brought total sales of U.S. corn to China to more than 817,000 tons (nearly 32.2 million bu.) thus far in the 2019-20 marketing year, based on weekly export figures reported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service. In addition to these sales to China, USDA reported 252,000 tons (9.9 million bu.) of sales for the week ending March 26 to unknown destinations, which are widely expected to go to China.


While these commitments are sales and not actual shipments, USGC said if realized, the sale volumes would exceed marketing year-end corn exports to China for the last seven marketing years.

“China is buying corn again,” Bryan Lohmar, USGC director in China, said. “We already see exports greater than the past few years, and China typically buys much of its corn over the summer, when its own supplies get tighter and domestic prices firm up.”

Together with substantial purchases of U.S. sorghum, USGC said the sales provide encouragement that U.S. farmers and agribusinesses are seeing results from the Phase One agreement with China. That agreement also promised structural changes that should provide U.S. grain products with improved access to the Chinese market over the long term, the organization added.

China is the world’s second-largest corn producer and consumer behind the U.S. and, in the past, was the world’s largest importer of U.S. sorghum and dried distillers grains with solubles. These feed ingredients supply the world’s largest swine, aquaculture and egg industries, the second-largest poultry industry and growing dairy and beef operations.

For more than 35 years, USGC has worked to help customers and other stakeholders in China improve their operations and advance China’s food security, safety and agricultural sustainability through trade. USGC staff members continue to regularly interact with Chinese importers, even while the global outbreak of COVID-19 has required the council’s international staff -- including those working in China -- to shift to remote work status and adhere to each country’s restrictions.

“The council and its members have worked for more than three decades to help partners in China develop their feed and livestock operations,” Lohmar said. “Demand for corn and sorghum in China will continue to grow in coming years, with the United States able to supply those needs as trade relations allow.”

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