Market Morsel: China slowing down on corn?

Grain | 6th October 2021 | By Andrew Whitelaw

Market Morsel

The big story in grain in 2020 and much of 2021 was the rampant demand for corn in China. Their demand for corn increased dramatically and saw them import record quantities of corn from the US.

This could be down to their trade deal with America (See Should a trade deal faze Australia?), their rebuild of the pig herd and the impact of production issues.

The scale of this rise can be seen in the first chart, which shows the cumulative exports of US corn to China. It’s a scale never seen, from well below 5mmt to over 20mmt.

The US marketing season runs from September to August, and the first four weeks of exports are lower compared to last year. At the same time last year 750kmt had been exported to China, this year it is substantially lower at 280kmt.

This is still high compared to the majority of years but is more in line with the purchase program from 2010 to 2013.

Why should this concern Australian grain growers? The hungry appetite from China last season for feed grains helped assist in maintaining the price of other grains, including barley. If demand for imports drops in China, this could flow through to barley as trade flows move.

Whilst this is only the first month of export data, we need to keep a close eye on the China import program. A fall in demand from there will impact.


  • China
  • Corn
  • Barley