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China's Year-to-Year Corn Imports Up 14-Fold
USAgNet - 09/26/2017

China imported 380,000 tons of corn in August, a 14-fold year-on-year jump, as buyers stocked up on cheaper imports after domestic prices of the grain rose, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Saturday. Imports of the grain had surged in July to 910,000 tons, the fourth highest volume on record.

Corn is mainly used to feed livestock and China is the world's top pork producer. Reuters reports that corn imports shrank at this time last year after domestic prices plummeted in the months following the end of a State stockpiling scheme.

The country could import up to 20 million tons of corn a year, more than six times the current level, to meet a switch to greater use of ethanol in fuel, Cherry Zhang, a senior corn analyst with Shanghai JC Intelligence Co, predicted at a conference.

The country plans to roll out a gasoline known as 'E10' - containing 10 percent ethanol - across the world's largest car market by 2020.

As much as 15 million tons of ethanol will be needed when the policy is implemented, according to Reuters' calculations, or about 45 million tons of corn, the major raw material ethanol is produced from.

More corn is already being consumed closer to cornfields in the top growing region in the northeast after a series of measures were introduced last year to use up State stocks.

Meanwhile, ongoing expansion of the corn processing sector will leave less available for sale to feedmakers in other parts of the country, said Zhang.

Corn transported out of northeast China will fall to less than 30 million tons in the coming 3 to 5 years from current levels of around 50 to 60 million tons, she noted.

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