Buyers queue for Indian corn on tight supply

Singapore, Jan 25 | Updated: Jan 26 2008, 06:03am hrs
India has struck deals to export 5,00,000 tonne of corn, as surging prices force Asian buyers to scramble for cheaper alternatives, a senior industry official said on Friday. The bulk of the sales from India have been sealed at around $250 a tonne, free on board, and exporters are hoping to find buyers for another 5,00,000 tonne, said Amit Sachdev, an India-based representative of the US Grains Council. India is exporting corn after two years. All deals have been done for export by March, Sachdev said.

With freight at $50 a tonne to Southeast Asia, the landed cost of Indian corn works out to around $300 a tonne. US corn is offered at $220 a tonne, but is more expensive given freight of $93, he added. Corn offers from India, after nearly two years when it sat out the market, could give a measure of relief to Asian buyers trying to cope with scanty supplies and record prices caused by surging demand for the grain for food and ethanol use. Corn on the Chicago Board of Trade extended gains on Friday to just below $5 a bushel for March, just off a record high hit earlier this month.

The US is by far the worlds biggest corn exporter, with its sales in the week to January 10 at a record above 2 million tonne, and the bulk of that headed to Asia. There will be more corn offers out of India. They are expecting to sell a total of about 1 million tonne before March, Sachdev added.