(Posted Mon. Mar 17th, 2014)
U.S. corn exports to Japan have begun to rebound with projections indicating a strong return for the remainder of the 2013/2014 marketing year that began Sept. 1. Current U.S. Department of Agriculture reports show outstanding sales and accumulated exports to Japan totaled 331 million bushels for this marketing year through March 6.
In the 2012/2013 marketing year, the U.S. Corn Belt experienced a crippling drought that drove U.S. corn export prices to uncompetitive levels. While many longtime Japanese buyers continued to express a preference for U.S. sourcing, the cost disadvantage imposed too high a premium. Thus, Japan turned to South American corn. However in 2013, U.S. corn production rose to 14.0 billion bushels, an all-time high, with an average yield of 160.4 bushels per acre. Prices have responded accordingly, and Japanese buyers are again sourcing U.S. corn.
Even during the drought, the U.S. Grains Council, of which the National Corn Growers Association is a founding member, aggressively defended the market for U.S. grains in Japan. The Council has been able to provide Japanese end-users with timely, reliable information to reinforce their traditional preference for U.S. corn. An example of this is the 2013/2014 Corn Harvest Quality Report.
The Council was able to present the findings of record production and high quality to Japanese end-users at the Japanese Corn Outlook Conference in January. During the conference, participants made it clear that they anticipated a strong recovery of U.S. sourcing, which is happening quickly.
"Japan is back as a top U.S. corn importer and was the top U.S. corn importer for January," said Tommy Hamamoto, USGC director in Japan. "This is excellent news for the continuation of a solid trade relationship between these two countries."
Council programming promotes the United States as a long-term, reliable supplier of high-quality corn and works to reinvigorate robust agricultural trade ties between the United States and Japan.