Southeast Asian grain buyers took advantage of direct contact with U.S. producers at the recent Southeast Asia U.S. Agricultural Cooperators Conference to purchase at least 725,000 metric tons of corn or corn products, as well as substantial amounts of soybeans and wheat.

The U.S. Grains Council (USGC), American Soybean Association (ASA) and U.S. Wheat Associates (USWA) jointly organized the recent conference to address current industry concerns in the region and to provide broader perspective and insight for U.S. grain customers on what lies ahead for the new marketing season with regard to raw food and feed ingredients.

The 126 guests in attendance included the Southeast Asian region's major food, feed and livestock producers; international and regional exporters; port and logistic operators; and numerous speakers. At least half of the participants completed exit surveys, and a majority noted the conference was a convenient and conducive venue for trade negotiations. At least 25 participants indicated they negotiated sales or contracts for U.S. corn, soybeans and wheat during the conference.

Regarding corn sales, seven participants said they negotiated sales or contracts for at least 75,000 metric tons of U.S. corn or corn products; three negotiated sales or contracts for 50,000-75,000 tons; two for 25,000-50,000 tons; and four for less than 25,000 tons.

For U.S. soybeans or soy products, eight participants indicated making sales or contracts for at least 75,000 tons; one for 50,000-75,000 tons; two for 25,000-50,000 tons; and six for less than 25,000 tons.

Wheat contracts

For U.S. wheat, three participants negotiated sales or contracts for at least 75,000 tons; one for 50,000-75,000 tons; five for 25,000-50,000 tons; and eight for less than 25,000 tons.

“During the conference, the U.S. agricultural cooperators successfully conveyed to the participants that we are committed to the Southeast Asia region for the long term and that our common goal is to continue to work with our customers to help grow Southeast Asia's agricultural and food industry to its fullest potential,” said Kim Rameker, director of the U.S. Grains Council's Malaysia office.

The past marketing season has been an extraordinary one for the Southeast Asia region. There has been fluctuating supply, unrelenting demand and record prices. Having just gone through the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, the region faced another crippling crisis with the avian influenza outbreak which had a traumatic effect on the region's poultry industry. As a result, growth in many feed and poultry companies was stunted.

It is under these conditions that the ASA decided to pass over this year's Soy Buyers Conference and join efforts with USGC and USWA to organize a special conference that would help address current industry concerns.