Brazil may become number two global corn exporter

Country's harvest hit record in 2011–2012

Brazil could jump ahead of Argentina to become the world’s number two corn exporter in the 2011–2012 marketing year, according to government food-supply agency Conab, which raised its estimates for Brazil’s corn exports to 17.5 million metric tons.

That number is up 88 percent from the 9.31 million metric tons exported in 2010–2011, and up from Conab’s previous estimate of 16 million metric tons. The country harvested a record crop, bringing production to 72.6 million metric tons, according to Conab. Usually, Brazil keeps most of its corn for domestic use; however, the U.S. drought, which led to high grain prices, has made the export market an attractive one.

Since the 2011–2012 marketing year began in February, Brazil has exported 8.56 million metric tons, according to the Trade Ministry. Almost 90 percent of that was shipped from July through September, with the country setting back-to-back records for monthly corn exports in August and September. The biggest importers of Brazilian corn so far have been Iran, Egypt and South Korea. Brazil has also exported 106,666 metric tons of corn to the U.S.