Argentina drought cuts corn exports with lowest global trade in three years

01 April 20232 min reading

Argentina corn exports (Oct 2022 – Sep 2023) are forecast at 29 million tons, the lowest since 2017/18. This year’s production , like 2017/18, has been heavily impacted by drought, which is expected to reduce supplies available for export. 

The cut comes at a difficult time for global corn supplies. At the start of the 2022/23 marketing year, U.S. exports were constrained by logistical problems and relatively uncompetitive prices. Since mid-January, U.S. price competitiveness has improved but export sales have been slow to respond. At the same time, export inspection data for January and February combined is about half of the average shipped during the same period in 2020/21 and 2021/22. As a result, the U.S. export forecast is trimmed by another 2 million tons in March. 

In stark contrast, Brazil is forecast to harvest a record crop of 125 million tons and export a record 52.0 million tons (Oct 2022 – Sep 2023). Though Brazil is expected to export large volumes between July and September after its safrinha harvest, ultimately, 2022/23 global trade is forecast down 2.6 million tons in March.

Argentina primarily exports to South America, Southeast Asia, and North Africa. Unsurprisingly, Argentina’s reduced exportable supplies are expected to result in lower imports for countries in these regions, including Peru, Malaysia, and Egypt. Tight global supplies offer limited options for substitution from other origins, although competitively priced feed wheat supplies could play a role. Of these three regions, Southeast Asia is forecast to contract the least, bolstered by exports from India on record corn production. India is currently forecast to export 4 million tons of corn, the largest volume since 2012/13 when exports reached 4.8 million tons amid a drought-affected U.S. crop. With strong exports to begin its marketing year, India will again endeavor to help fill the gap left by a major exporter experiencing dry conditions.

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