China, the second-largest corn user, may more than double purchases to a record as it seeks to boost stockpiles and cool the fastest inflation in three years.
The country will probably buy 5 million metric tonnes this year from about 2 million tons in 2010, said Abdolreza Abbassian, senior economist at the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation. That would top the 4.3 million tonnes in the year ended September 1995, according to US government data.
Increasing demand may support Chicago prices that fell 16 per cent from a three-year high last month.
Shrinking farmland and water shortages in China have combined with rising incomes and a doubling in meat consumption to cut supply and lift costs, driving inflation in June to 6.4 per cent, the most since 2008. "It's all very strategic," said Victor Thianpiriya, a commodity analyst at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd.
The country bought 540,000 tonnes of US corn for delivery in the year starting September 1 and a further 300,000 tonnes was sold to unknown destinations, the US government said July 7.
That brought the amount sold by exporters without declaring a destination to about 2.5 million tonnes, fuelling speculation that China had already bought 3 million tonnes or more, Dave Smoldt, vice-president of operations at INTL FCStone, said.
From / Gulf News