* Deal signed at around $275/T FOB, April shipment
* Deal on trial basis, quarantine issues to be resolved
* Cargo from crop in Andhra Pradesh
* India sells corn to Indonesia, Vietnam (Adds India corn sale to Indonesia, Vietnam, details)
By Naveen Thukral
SINGAPORE, March 14 (Reuters) - Indian traders have struck a rare deal to export 13,700 tonnes of corn to China, as the world’s second largest consumer of the grain tries to meet rapidly increasing demand from its animal feed sector amid high domestic prices.
China has been snapping up U.S. corn cargoes in recent weeks in a bid to lock in supplies amid projections that final stocks will drop to a 17-year low in 2012/13 in the world’s top exporter, the United States.
This has underpinned Chicago Board of Trade corn prices , which have risen more than 6 percent this year.
India’s corn deal with China was signed at around $275 per tonne, free on board, for April shipment, said a leading New-Delhi based trader who signed the deal with a Chinese company.
The cargo was from crop produced in India’s southern state of Andhra Pradesh, the trader added.
“This is new-crop corn and this is the first deal we have signed on a trial basis,” the trader told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference in Singapore on Thursday.
“This is on a trial basis as there are quarantine issues to be resolved,” the trader said. “We hope everything will be sorted out soon.”
China, which typically imports corn from the United States as it has yet to resolve quarantine issues with grain from elsewhere, bought more of the U.S. new corn crop due to be harvested after September, taking total orders since February to around 600,000 tonnes, traders said this month.
The additional cargoes were bought by private animal feed mills, which had already bought 240,000 tonnes in late February, with domestic prices expected to remain high.
Beijing has set a price of 2,100 to 2,140 yuan per tonne for corn under its stockpile plan, but physical prices in the northeast reached as high as 2,260 yuan this week.
Rapid urbanization and a rising population have fuelled greater meat consumption in China, the world’s second-largest economy, as well as strong demand for feed corn.
The country -- which became a net importer of corn two years ago -- signed a protocol last year allowing all derivatives of Argentina’s corn to enter its market, but traders at the conference said there were still issues to be resolved over genetically modified corn.
Separately, traders also reported additional business for Indian corn, saying 100,000 tonnes of new-crop corn was sold this week to Indonesia and Vietnam at around $290 to $294 per tonne, cost and freight, for April and May shipment. (Writing by Himani Sarkar; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)