BEIJING Dec 8 China will consume less corn in
2016/17 than previously forecast as livestock farmers in the
world's top grain buyer give their animals more sorghum and
barley and as overall demand for feed wanes, the nation's
official think tank said on Thursday.
In a daily report, the China National Grains and Oils
Information Center cut its estimate for corn consumption for the
season that ends September, 2017 to 197 million tonnes, down
from its previous forecast of 199 million tonnes.
That would still be up 20.5 percent year-on-year, but the
drop by the influential organisation will reinforce growing
concerns that higher corn prices after the new government rules
on trucking delayed deliveries has eroded demand.
While consumption by industrial users, mainly located in
northern China, would remain the same as previously forecast at
63.4 million tonnes, usage in animal feed will be less than
earlier thought at 114 million tonnes, said the think-tank.
Farmers are turning to imports of sorghum and barley, which
cost less, and in the meanwhile, overall demand for animal feed
is also expected to slow this year, it added.
It raised its sorghum import estimate by a 1 million tonnes
to 4.5 million tonnes.
Traders earlier estimated Chinese buyers had booked at least
1 million tonnes of sorghum in November alone.
Corn futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange have
rallied 15 percent since hitting one-year lows at the end of
Beijing has also been giving priority to coal freight on its
railways amid surging prices for the fuel as winter starts to
bite, according to energy market participants.
(Reporting by Hallie Gu and Dominique Patton; Writing by
Josephine Mason; Editing by Joseph Radford)