It is a good news/bad news situation for US corn exports. Let’s start with the bad news. China, once a major buyer of US corn, has dried up as a customer for the past several months. The main reason given is their concern over biotech corn showing up in shipments of US grain. Tom Sleight, head of the US Grains Council, says negotiations are continuing, “There has been progress, but it is going to take a lot of talking with the Chinese on many different levels. We have approval on one trait and another in line for next year. It is going to take a lot of talking.”
Now here is the good news. Sleight says sales of US corn to Mexico and Colombia are on the rise, “It is a different kind of Mexico than it was 10 years ago, and the same with Colombia. These are very vibrant economies, and they are in our backyard.” Another area of the world that is turning to the US for more corn is North Africa, “This is an area that has been dominated by the Russians, but now the US is gaining market share.” He predicts that this year the US will go from almost zero percent of the market to nearly 40% of the market in Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia. In the latest USDA report, projected exports of US corn was increased by 150 million bushels, to a total of 1.9 billion bushels for 2014.