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February 11, 2014 |

US Sorghum Sales to China Surge

Exports and outstanding sales to Japan also are up this year

This week's U.S. Grains Council Chart of the Week shows that U.S. sorghum sales to China have surged in the current 2013/2014 marketing year that began Sept. 1, 2013, up from zero last year to more than 1.6 million metric tons (62.9 million bushels) of combined exports and outstanding sales this year through Jan. 24. U.S. sorghum exports and outstanding sales to Japan also are up this year – from 91,700 tons (3.6 million bushels) last year to 270,400 tons (10.6 million bushels) this year. 

China provides a new opportunity for U.S. sorghum sales partly because of access barriers to U.S. corn in China. Although China's domestic corn prices are well above world market levels, biotechnology issues and tariff rate quotas have limited importation of U.S. corn. In spite of an excellent domestic corn harvest in 2013, China's total feed demand exceeds domestic availability. The price of imported corn and sorghum is cheaper than domestic corn in key regions, and the constraints on corn imports have shifted some of this demand to sorghum.

At the same time, China's sorghum demand has boosted U.S. sorghum price above that of corn, resulting in Mexican grain importers shifting to corn. So far in the current marketing year, U.S. corn exports and outstanding sales to Mexico are up more than 5 million tons (196.8 million bushels) – from 3.13 million tons (123 million bushels) last year to 8.15 million tons (320.8 million bushels).

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