The first 5 ½ months into the 2007-2008 marketing year have shown noteworthy increases in the exports of U.S. corn and sorghum in markets where the U.S. Grains Council has been active in demand building and trade development programs. Corn imports are up in Asia and the Middle East with 5.7 million tons (2.24 million bushels) imported compared to 3 million tons (118 million bushels) the same time last year, according to the Foreign Agricultural Service.
South Korea is the driving force in Asia. Its imports have increased over a million tons since the end of January 2007, having so far imported 3.9 million tons (154 million bushels) of U.S. corn. The North African market has also shown impressive growth with Egypt, Morocco and Algeria being the biggest importers in that region. The Council has been actively working with users in those countries to promote U.S. corn and its by-products. In addition to corn, sorghum sales have increased, especially to Europe. Latest reports show imports topping off at 2.7 million tons (106 million bushels) compared to 500,000 tons (19.7 thousand bushels) this same time last year. Primary delivery points include Spain, Holland, France, Denmark, Italy and the UK.
“This is the first time I can recall the U.S. exporting sorghum to the Northern European countries,” said Chris Corry, USGC senior director of international operations. As a result of the EU’s biotech policies, member countries’ access to corn from the United States has been severely restricted.
“A poor harvest in Europe has pushed the need for EU countries to import more feeding ingredients,” said Erick Erickson, USGC special assistant for planning, evaluation and projects.
Corry added, “In the past, Mexico was the No. 1 market for U.S. sorghum. This year Europe has taken the lead. The vacuum created by the shift of sorghum away from Mexico is being filled with U.S. corn. This has translated into a win-win situation for both U.S. sorghum and corn growers.”