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Ukraine to beat US as top Beijing corn supplier

  • Autor:naky
  • Suelte el:2015-07-09
Ukraine is set to become China’s top supplier of corn in the first half of 2015 as both countries reap the benefits of closer trade relations and Beijing looks to diversify its grain and oilseed purchases.

The latest customs data for May shows China imported 403,881 tonnes of corn — mainly used as livestock feed — of which almost 95 per cent came from Ukraine.

This takes the total imports from Ukraine, the bread basket of eastern Europe, to 1.55m tonnes for the first five months of the year, or nearly 90 per cent of China’s overseas corn purchases.

Ukraine has established itself as China’s top corn exporter at a surprising pace since its first shipment to the country in 2012 after Kiev and Beijing signed a $3bn loan-for-corn deal. Ukrainian agricultural groups have sought investment and export deals with Chinese companies such as Cofco, the state-owned grains trader.

The eastern European country’s ascent has come at the expense of the US, which until last year was the top corn exporter to China. For the first five months of this year, China imported a total of 45,000 tonnes from the US, down 95 per cent from the same time last year.

Ukraine’s deepening relationship with China will support the country’s struggling agricultural sector amid continuing tensions with neighbouring Russia. Meanwhile, imports from Ukraine help satisfy China’s growing demand for grains and meat.

“Ukraine is on the new trade route to Europe that China wants to develop. It also meshes with China promoting investment and infrastructure in parts of the world that are neglected,” said Fred Gale, senior economist at the US Department of Agriculture.

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