Brazil likely to lose briefly held top corn export title in 2014
Brazil's corn exports in 2013 have surpassed last year's record as the agricultural superpower gained international market share with U.S. stocks still low, but the United States is set to make a huge comeback in 2014.
Brazil exported 20.8 million tonnes of corn between January and Nov. 10, according to trade data, passing the 19.77 million tonnes shipped abroad in all of 2012 when drought crimped production in the United States, the top producer and exporter of the grain.
For the 2012/13 crop year, Brazil exported 22 mln tonnes of corn while the U.S. exported 18.58 mln tonnes, according to USDA.
But Brazil's exports will likely fall off in December and January, analysts said, and the United States should reclaim its spot as the top corn exporter, according to the U.S. Agriculture Department.
Brazilian corn exports usually start trailing off at the end of the year, when logistics make the U.S. crop more accessible, but last season was atypical, analysts said.
"Last year, with the damage in the United States, prices jumped to $7.50 (per bushel) and the whole world bought from Brazil at any price," said Paulo Molinari of Brazil-based Safras & Mercado consultancy.
Now, prices on the Chicago Board of Trade are around $4.30 per bushel on promises of an abundant supply from the Northern Hemisphere as the U.S. harvests a record crop.
Brazil's corn production has increased 60 percent in the past 10 years, culminating in a record 80 million-tonne crop in the 2012/13 season that left the country with far more corn than it can use domestically.
Most analysts believe the next corn crop will be smaller with farmers preferring to plant soybeans and cotton. The USDA expects Brazil to produce 72 million tonnes of corn in the 2013/14 season and export 20 million tonnes for that crop year.
The United States is forecast to export 35.6 million tonnes in 2013/14 marketing year.
Molinari said an agreement for Brazil to export corn to China inked last week is not likely to increase exports by much.
Brazil's agriculture ministry believes China could eventually take up to 10 million tonnes of Brazil's corn as pork and poultry consumption rises, but it will take time for Brazil to gain a share of the market which is dominated by the United States.