China says corn output to grow, after fears of shortfall drive prices


China’s Agriculture Ministry said Oct. 15 that the country’s corn-planting acreage had remained “basically stable” this year and annual output was set to increase despite the northeastern Corn Belt being hit by three typhoons in recent weeks.

The ministry’s comments, attributed to an unnamed official, came after Chinese corn futures hit a record high of 2,595 yuan (US$385.75) a tonne as investors bet that crop damage and a recent sell-down of state reserves could leave the market short.

“In late August and early September, the northeastern production area suffered three consecutive typhoons,” said the official from the market and information department at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

Corn yields in most of these areas were unaffected, however, the official said, adding that total corn output was expected to rise this year.

As more corn from producing areas comes on to the market and imported corn and corn substitutes reach Chinese ports, the supply tightness will ease, the official said, expecting prices to remain stable or fall back slightly in the short term.

Further seeking to calm food security fears, the official said China’s wheat and rice inventories both exceeded a year’s worth of consumption and supply was “fully guaranteed.”

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