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Rabobank: China To Double '11 Corn Imports

01 June 2011

CHINA - A senior agriculture industry analyst with Rabobank International said that China's 2011 corn imports will likely rise several times over last year's volume as increasing rural incomes underpin steady growth in pork consumption, reports 7marketSpot.

"It's hard to estimate [this year's corn import volume] exactly, but it may be several times larger than last year," said Chenjun Pan, a Beijing-based expert on food and agribusiness research for the bank, agreeing that this would mean at least double last year's volume.

Corn is an important component of feedmeal for the rising hog population in China, which has sharply rebounded from the culling that followed outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease and swine flu in previous years.

China's hog population is likely to rise 1 per cent this year from 453 million heads in 2010, driving historic increases in China's corn imports, she said.

"The (demand) pressure on corn is coming from large hog farms that are entering the industry, while small farms are exiting the industry," she said.

Smaller hog farms tend to rely less on corn for feed purposes, using more non-conventional byproducts of rice and wheat crops, whereas large-scale farms use conventional feed in which corn is a heavily featured component, Pan said.

Last year, China imported 1.6 million metric tons of corn, a 15-year high that was 17 times larger than the volume imported in 2009. This year, the country is estimated to have already purchased more than 1 million tons of corn as of last month.

Demand for corn is rising alongside consumption of soybeans, of which China's imports also mostly go into feedmeal. About 70% of the country's consumption is currently covered by imported soybeans. That percentage will rise in coming years, though the pace of increase will slow, Pan said.

TheCropSite News Desk

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