China’s 2013-14 corn imports estimate cut by 30 percent: analyst

BEIJING (Reuters) — China’s corn imports in the year to September are expected to fall 30 percent short of a prior estimate, following Beijing’s rejection of U.S. cargoes over the presence of an unapproved genetically modified strain, a leading industry analyst said.

Lower overseas purchases by the world’s second largest consumer of the grain could further drag on Chicago Board of Trade corn prices that plunged almost 40 percent in 2013.

China is forecast to import 4.4 million tonnes of corn in the current marketing year, down from last month’s estimate of 6.6 million, the Shanghai JC Intelligence Co. Ltd., an influential private consulting firm, said on Wednesday.

The revision follows Beijing’s rejection of U.S. corn cargoes due to the presence of MIR 162, a genetically modified variety developed by Syngenta AG and not approved for import by China’s agriculture ministry.

China, which imported 2.7 million tonnes of the grain in the previous marketing year, has rejected about 600,000 tonnes of U.S. corn since November. The rejection has prompted traders to either cancel or delay shipments bound to China.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has forecast China’s 2013-14 (Sept./Aug.) corn imports at a record seven million tonnes, but the lack of resolution on MIR 162 suggested imports could be considerably smaller. The United States supplies nearly all of China’s imported corn.

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