China became the main destination of Brazilian corn exports in January by volume, surpassing traditional importers like Japan, Iran and Spain.
According to official revised trade data, Brazil sold 983,684 tonnes to China in January, the second full month of corn trading following Beijing’s authorisations for Brazilian sales in late November.
By value, Brazilian corn exports to China totalled US$271.4 million in January, representing about 15 per cent of the $1.77 billion total exported for the month.
Brazil already ships most of its soybeans to China, a massive importer which also buys Brazilian meat and other food staples.
Until recently, China used to import approximately 70 per cent of US corn and 29 per cent of Ukrainian corn, Brazilian grain exporters group Anec said last week. But following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, China has sought out new suppliers.
Last year, China was already the destination of 1.16 million tonnes of corn from Brazil, almost all of it shipped in December.
In 2023, despite the increase in domestic corn production, China will import an estimated 20 million tonnes, Anec said.
Government agency Conab forecast that Brazil’s exports would grow to 47 million tonnes in the 2022/2023 season, up from 45 million tonnes.
The government also revised overall Brazilian corn exports for January, lowering the estimate to 6.16 million tonnes from a preliminary 6.34 million tonnes.
In 2022, China imported US$58.8 billion in agribusiness products from Brazil, 43.3 per cent more than in 2021 and practically double the flow five years ago, according to data from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock.