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US Corn Exports to Japan Enjoy Powerful Rebound

US Corn Exports to Japan Enjoy Powerful Rebound

19 March 2014
U.S. Grains Council

US - US corn exports to Japan are enjoying a powerful rebound, projecting a strong return for the remainder of the 2013/2014 marketing year that began September 1.

Current USDA reports show outstanding sales and accumulated exports to Japan totaled 8.4 million metric tons (331 million bushels) for this marketing year through March 6.

The US corn belt experienced a crippling drought in the 2012/2013 marketing year that drove US corn export prices to uncompetitive levels. While many longtime Japanese buyers continued to express a preference for US sourcing, the cost disadvantage imposed too high a premium, and Japan turned to South American corn. However in 2013, US corn production rose to 355.3 million tons (14.0 billion bushels) which was an all-time high, with an average yield of 160.4 bushels per acre, the second highest recorded. Prices have responded, and Japanese buyers are returning.

Even during the drought, the US Grains Council aggressively defended US market for US grains in Japan. The Council has been able to provide Japanese end-users with timely, reliable information to reinforce their traditional preference for US corn. An example of this is the 2013/2014 Corn Harvest Quality Report.

The Council was able to present the findings of record production and high quality to Japanese end-users at the Japanese Corn Outlook Conference in January. The conference participants made it clear that they anticipated a strong recovery of US sourcing, which is happening quickly.

"Japan is back as a top US corn importer and was the top US corn importer for January," said Tommy Hamamoto, USGC director in Japan. "This is excellent news for the continuation of a solid trade relationship between these two countries."

Council programming promotes the United States as a long-term, reliable supplier of high-quality corn and is working to reinvigorate robust US-Japan agricultural ties.

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