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Brazil to unseat US as top corn exporter

Improved logistics and a new supply deal with China are expected to shift the country's corn exports above the U.S.

Yellow Corn In Field Jurajko Pixabay
jurajko | PIXABAY.com

With a bumper harvest and logistical improvements, Brazil is set to overtake the U.S. this year as the word's top corn exporter.

Corn exports through Brazil's northern ports, which uses the Amazon River basin to ship grains globally, are on track to beat volumes for a third consecutive year, according to a Reuters analysis of grain shipping data.

Brazil, which has three corn crops a year, is overcoming some of its infrastructure bottlenecks that have been a hurdle to getting its grain to global markets.

The improved export capacity coupled with a new supply deal with China in 2022 is setting the stage for Brazil to unseat the U.S.

The Reuters report noted major new infrastructure investments in Brazil have begun to ease several chokepoints and bring down logistics costs sharply, helping to undercut U.S. farmers. Cargill and Bunge have built new private-use port terminals on the Northern export routes. COFCO is also building a major new grain terminal at Santos after getting a 25-year license to operate a unit with capacity for 14 million tons.

Brazil's farm industry, however, still has pain points. On-farm storage capacity still pales next to rival grain powers like Canada, the U.S. and Argentina. A lack of storage space means Brazilian farmers are forced to quickly sell their harvests or pile their corn outside.

Conab forecasts Brazil's 2023 total corn output at nearly 130 million metric tons, the highest ever, about 16 million tons more than last season. Exports are expected to reach 50 million metric tons for the first time.

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