Rare 55k mt South African corn cargo arrives to China

4 May 2023 | Masha Belikova

A rare South African corn cargo has arrived at a Chinese port containing more than all the previous volume China has imported of that origin in total, trade sources said on Thursday.

A cargo of 55,000 mt South African corn was delivered to Machong port on Thursday, with trade sources saying that state company Cofco even held a ceremony to mark the occasion.

Trade sources said that the cargo was booked a month or two ago, and at that time South African origin was calculated to be the most attractive for the current shipment dates, while for now, it is again South American one that wins the competition.

South African corn was approved for import into China some years ago, but the total amount imported during the last ten years was only 37,800 mt.

“Cofco has signed a yearly committed volume with South Africa to get the best price from this origin. Maybe it helps them to get the cheap price,” a trader said.

Thus, possibly, more such shipments can be expected. 

South Africa expects to have a bumper corn crop in 2023/24 MY at 15.89 million mt, which is slightly higher than last year’s and 12% higher than the five-year average result.

Meanwhile, China has been widening the list of approved import origins.

After months of talks the country finally approved Brazil origin for import last year, with the first 3.8 million mt of corn already imported between November 2022 and February 2023.