(Updating to add details throughout)
By Dominique Patton
BEIJING, Sept 30 China has given approval to at
least two companies to export corn, two sources with knowledge
of the matter said, in a radical move by the world's No. 2
producer to cut its ballooning surplus that could add more
supply to a saturated global market.
The move threatens to push U.S. prices down sharply in a
market that has already fallen by a quarter since June.
In what could be the first bulk exports in a decade, the
government has issued permits to two state-owned companies, top
grains trader COFCO Corp and major processor and trader
Beidahuang, allowing them to sell corn abroad, said China-based
sources who asked to remain anonymous because they were not
authorised to speak to the media.
A spokeswoman for China's commerce ministry said the permits
were not their responsibility and directed questions to the
state planner, the National Development and Reform Commission
(NDRC). The NDRC did not respond to requests for comment.
Unleashing a large amount of corn onto the world market
comes at a time when global farmers are growing a record crop.
That could hurt corn growers in major exporters in the
United States and Brazil, although more supplies and lower
prices would help cut costs for major users in the livestock,
ethanol and corn syrup markets.
(Reporting by Domininque Patton; Editing by Christian