Jan 30, 2023

Brazil Could Become Leading Corn Exporter Thanks to China

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

Soon after Brazil and China agreed on phytosanitary standards for Brazilian corn to be exported to China last November, Brazilian corn started to flow to China almost immediately.

In 2022, Brazil exported 1.16 million tons of corn to China with nearly all of it during the month of December. Brazil exported 6.4 million tons of corn in December with 18% of the exports destined for China. During December, China moved ahead of Brazil's traditional major importers of Iran and Spain. During December, China imported 1.1 million tons of Brazilian corn while Spain imported 778,000 tons and Iran imported 750,800 tons.

With a larger corn production in 2021/22 of 116 million tons, Brazil exported 43.3 million tons of corn in 2022, which were double the exports of 2021. For all of 2022, Iran was the major importer of Brazilian corn at 6.58 million tons followed by Spain at 5 million, Japan at 4.9 million, Egypt at 3.9 million, South Korea and Columbia at 2.4 million each, and Mexica at 1.7 million.

The National Association of Cereal Exporters (Anec) expects Brazil to export at least 5 million tons of corn to China in 2023. They are also expecting increased corn exports to Europe due to the war in Ukraine and disappointing corn yields in western Europe in 2022.

The United States is still the leading corn exporter in the world, but Brazil is closing in at a close second. During the commercial year 2022/23 from October 2022 to September 2023, the USDA is expecting the United States to export 51 million tons of corn and Brazil to export 48.5 million tons. With corn acreage and production continuing to increase in Brazil annually, most analysts believe that it is just a matter of time before Brazil takes over the top spot as the leading corn exporter in the world.