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Brazil catches up with US in corn export

03 March 20232 min reading

Brazil 2022/23 corn exports (Oct-Sep) are forecast to equal those of the United States at 51 million tons on expanding production and strong exports in the second half of its 2021/22 marketing year (Mar 2022-Feb 2023).

Brazil corn exports have exceeded those of the United States only one other time, in the drought year of 2012/13. Since October 2022, Brazil has exported about 25 million tons of corn, far exceeding the same period in any prior year. In contrast, U.S. corn exports have been off to a slow start. Production in 2022/23 was smaller than initially forecast and logistical concerns on the Mississippi River in the months after harvest kept U.S. prices elevated and volumes low, especially as U.S. corn competed with competitively priced supplies from other exporters.

This convergence in forecasts has also been driven by the level of trade from the two other major exporters, Argentina and Ukraine. Ukraine has been able to export an impressive amount of corn under the Black Sea Grain Initiative, but monthly volumes remain below pre-war capacities. Unlike Brazil, Argentina corn exports have flagged in the tail end of its 2021/22 marketing year (ending Feb 2023) and the country is facing significant production cuts for the 2022/23 year due to drought. In the last several months, Brazil has stepped in to help fill some of the gap left by Argentina and Ukraine in supplying the world with corn.

From February onwards, exports from Brazil are expected to seasonally decline until its safrinha harvest later in the year. In addition, U.S. prices have eased during the last few months and, as of last month, export bids are now lower than those from both Argentina and Brazil. If U.S. corn production returns to a more historically normal level, the United States will likely return to being the world’s top corn exporter. However, the continued and persistent expansion of Brazilian agriculture could mean that the United States will find itself fighting Brazil for the crown more often in the coming years. USDA


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