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Corn




General Characteristics

 - Maize (Corn), is of American origin, and after wheat and rice, it is the most important cereal grain in the world. 
 - It provides nutrition to both humans (33.3%) and animals (66.6 %).
 - Serves as basic raw material for the production of starch, oil and protein, alcoholic beverages, food sweeteners and more recently fuel. 
 - Special crops grown primarily for food include sweet corn and popcorn, although dent, starchy or floury and flint maize are also widely used as food. Flint maize is also used as feed. Immature ordinary corn on the cob either boiled or roasted is widely consumed.    


Corn fields




Global market

 - World corn production in the year 2014 was 987 million tons while in year 2015 total world corn production is expected to be 991 million tons. 
 - Major producing countries are United States, China, EU-25, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Ukraine. These countries accounts for around 80 % of total world corn production. 
 - Major consuming nations of corn are China and USA.
 - There has been continuous increase in the consumption demand of corn mainly owing to increase in the demand from meat and starch sector. There is growing requirement of maize from poultry sector, which uses corn as feed. 
 - Major importing nations of maize are Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Mexico, Egypt, Malaysia, EU and Colombia. 
 - Among the major exporters of corn, USA stands first followed by Argentina, Brazil and Ukraine. China, South Africa are minor exporters, their share is very low. Only USA dominates the international trade of corn as an exporter.      


The world's top producers: Maize



World corn production and consumption



Major global corn producers



Ukraine market

 - Grain production in the Black Sea region is determined by three principal players: Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. (Though Kazakhstan is a landlocked country, up until now, most of its grain was exported through Black Sea ports). Grain production in these three countries (as well as exports) is practically stable. In 2013-2014, the three nations produced 38.6 million metric tons (mmt) of corn (1.5 billion bushels). Total grain production, including barley and wheat, was 151 mmt. 
 - There has been a shift in corn’s share from 10% to 25%. Barley, as the coarse grain, has become less and less important. It is difficult to differentiate the grades of wheat (milling or feed) since the standards in the former USSR states are different from the ones used in Western countries. It is typical for governments in the years of poor wheat crop or low quality to manipulate the figures.  
 - Ukrainian corn production for the 2014-2015 marketing year was projected to fall to about 25 mmt, down from 26 mmt the previous year.
 - Last year, 46% of Ukrainian corn was exported to the European Union (EU). Another 14% of the crop went to Egypt and 11% went to South Korea. The remaining major markets were Japan (7%), Iran (6%), Israel (3%), Tunisia (2%), China (2%), and Syria (1%). About 9% of Ukrainian corn went to other destinations. In 2013, Ukraine began exporting corn to China – 519 thousand metric tons (tmt).
 - Ukraine remained one of the world’s largest exporters. Last year, the U.S. had 36% of world trade, Brazil had 17%, Ukraine had 16%, Argentina had 14%, and Russia had 3%. Remaining export nations accounted for another 14%.


Corn export competitors 



Ukraine corn supply and demand (thousand tons)
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Market influencing factors

 - Role of weather in crop production is immense. Temperature, rainfall and soil moisture are the important parameters that determine the crop condition. Further, natural calamities like typhoon, floods, droughts and earthquake can also affect crops. Markets keep watch of these developments. 
 - Changes in the minimum support prices (MSP) by the government also have immense impact on the prices of the commodity.  
 - Availability of substitute products at cheaper rate may lead to weakness in demand  This situation happens especially when the main products price tends to become higher. 
 - Seasonal cycles are present in agriculture crops, particularly in short duration annual crops. Price tends to be lower as harvesting progresses and produce starts coming into the market. At the time of sowing and before harvesting price tends to rise in view of tight supply situation. 
 - Breakthrough in the technology may increase the productivity and would lead to more supply. This may bring some softness in the price.        


Corn prices plunge on continuing large exportable supplies 



U.S. ethanol production vs corn prices