Global corn trade forecast for 2011/12 is increased 0.7 million tons this month to 94.7 million. China’s imports are projected to reach 4.0 million tons, up 1.0 million based on U.S. export shipments and sales. As of January 5, 2012, U.S. Export Sales reported local marketing year shipments of 2.1 million tons and outstanding sales to China of 1.2 million. Moreover there remain 1.9 million tons of outstanding sales to “unknown” destinations, and often sales to China have been switched from the “unknown” to China as they are shipped. Other changes to projected 2011/12 imports include: a small increase in imports by South Africa as stocks have become tight ahead of harvest; a reduction of 0.4 million tons to 1.6 million for imports by Syria, caused by political turmoil, financial, and logistical problems; and 0.1 million tons trimmed from Taiwan’s imports based on the slow pace of recent purchases.

World corn trade, U.S. corn exports boosted this month

Argentina’s 2011/12 trade year (October-September) corn exports are reduced 1.0 million tons this month to 17.5 million as a sharp reduction in production limits export potential. However, this is more than offset by increases for the United States, Russia, and Paraguay. Russia’s forecast corn exports are increased 0.4 million tons to 1.0 million based on the pace of recent shipments and the larger crop. Paraguay’s corn export prospects are increased 0.3 million tons to 1.8 million based on strong shipments during the last months of 2011.

U.S. 2011/12 corn exports are projected to reach 42.0 million tons, up 1.0 million this month (up 50 million bushels to 1.65 billion bushels for the September-August local marketing year). Based on Census and grain inspections data, U.S. corn exports for October through December 2011 were above levels a year ago. However, as of January 5, 2012, outstanding export sales reached 10.5 million tons, down 11 percent from a year ago. The increased export forecast is still down 7 percent from a year earlier, reflecting the expected slowdown in shipments in future months presaged by the level of outstanding sales.

U.S. 2011/12 sorghum exports are projected down 0.25 million tons this month to 1.65 million (down 10 million bushels to 60 million for the local marketing year). A sharp cut in estimated production is limiting exports. The slow pace of sales and shipments confirms that little U.S. sorghum is available for export. Shipment data for October through December 2011 are less than half the previous year’s levels. As of January 5, 2012, outstanding sorghum sales were only 101,200 tons, down 86 percent from a year earlier. The reduction in U.S. exports is reflected in lower expected imports by Mexico.

Global barley trade is increased marginally this month to 16.3 million tons due to an increase for Argentina. Argentina’s barley exports are raised of 0.2 million tons to 2.4 million as the recent sales pace has been strong. Uruguay’s imports are increased slightly.