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China Officials Downplay Fears of Grain Shortages


Beijing wants the rest of the world to know that the most-populated country in the world is not looking at a grain shortage. China’s Ag Minister is blaming speculators for rapidly rising corn prices which are stoking fears about a possible shortage in the Asian nation.

Corn prices in China recently hit an eight-year high following events like typhoons and flooding that damaged the nation’s Corn Belt. The South China Morning Post says it saw firsthand that large areas of cropland were flattened. As a result, local farmers are concerned about a steep drop in what they can produce.

Chinese corn imports, used mainly in animal feed, hit the highest level in almost 30 years during the first eight months of 2020, increasing anxiety about a possible domestic supply gap.

However, the nation’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs says the surging prices were caused by “market speculation and irrational hoarding.”

He says the country has ample supplies of corn and is set to harvest another bumper crop in the autumn, despite the impact of natural disasters in two provinces that account for 25 percent of China’s corn production.

“New corn will enter the market soon and the supply will further increase,” he says. “Corn prices are already starting to stabilize.”