China Corn Imports to Drop in 2021/22, Gro Predicts

15 September 2021

China’s corn imports will decrease in 2021/22 to below current USDA forecasts, a Gro analysis shows, a bearish development that will cut demand for US corn supplies. 

Chinese annual corn demand has more than doubled in the past decade, largely for livestock feed, and US exporters in the past two years have emerged as primary beneficiaries. In 2020, China imported 11.3 million tonnes of corn, of which 40% came from the United States. So far this calendar year, nearly two-thirds of China’s 18.2 million tonnes of corn imports shipped from the US. 

Domestic corn production in China is headed for a bumper crop this season, according to Gro’s China Corn Yield Forecast Models, which will make imports less attractive in the upcoming marketing year. At the same time, weakening domestic corn prices and slowing growth in local meat production, as seen via Gro’s China Pork Demand Forecast Model, support the notion that China’s corn imports will be muted during the 2021/22 season. 

The USDA currently estimates Chinese 2021/22 corn production at a record 273.0 million tonnes, which would represent a 5% increase from last year and from the 5-year average. Meanwhile, the USDA is forecasting an unchanged China corn import figure of 26 million tonnes for 2021/22 (Oct-Sept crop year), but Gro expects the USDA will need to revise this figure lower.  

Traditionally, China was never a huge buyer of world corn. But its supply deficit widened after years of reducing state corn stockpiles and as its hog herd numbers rebounded from the African swine fever outbreak in 2018. 

China consumes over 285 million tonnes of corn annually, meaning that the country’s corn inventories significantly influence the global corn balance sheet. However, it can be difficult to obtain public sources for in-season yield estimates for the Chinese crop. 

Gro’s China Corn Yield Forecast Models fill that gap, enabling users to keep track of yield estimates in the main corn-producing provinces. The Gro Models, available to premium subscribers, employ three separate models to track one public and two private data sources. These models make predictions on a daily basis at the district level in season. 

In addition, Gro rolled out a new email alerts service last month that provides you with the latest market-moving updates related to corn. If you are interested in signing up please email demo@gro-intelligence.com.

This insight was powered by the Gro platform, which enables better and faster decisions about factors affecting the entire global agricultural ecosystem. Gro organizes over 40,000 datasets from sources around the world into a unified ontology, which allows users to derive valuable insights such as this one. You can explore the data available on Gro with a free account, or please get in touch if you would like to learn more about a specific crop, region, or business issue.

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