| TOKYO, March 16
TOKYO, March 16 Japanese feedmakers, hit by a
severe shortage of corn due to delays in shipments from the
United States, say the crisis has eased and small cargoes of
corn brought from China this month are likely to be the last for
At least one small cargo of corn that trading company
Mitsubishi Corp has purchased from China's COFCO Corp
arrived at a Japanese port last week, four sources
with knowledge of the deal told Reuters.
The emergency deal marked the first sale of corn from the
world's No. 2 producer to the world's biggest importer since
"We've seen the worst shortage in decades, but it seems the
worst is nearly over although it may take until April or May to
see inventories back to normal," a source at a Japanese
feedmaker said, citing an improvement in U.S. shipments.
"I think trading houses won't need to buy expensive corn
from China any further," he said.
Blizzards, avalanches and heavy rain in the northwestern
United States early this year snarled transportation of corn,
soy and wheat to ports, causing lengthy delays to crop loadings
in Japan's main corn supplier.
Mitsubishi bought about 15,000 tonnes of corn from the
state-controlled Chinese company COFCO and at least one cargo of
the grain arrived at Shibushi port in Kyushu, southern Japan,
last week, three sources briefed on the deal said.
Another feedmaker source said his company has received and
used some of the supplies brought from China by Mitsubishi.
"We had some concerns over quality as they may have been
stored for a long time, but the ones we've received had no
quality problem as they were checked by Mitsubishi before
shipment," he said. He asked not to be identified as he was not
authorised to speak to media.
Japanese trading company Marubeni Corp also bought
about 5,000-6,000 tonnes of corn from China that is expected to
arrive at Taniyama port in Kyushu this week, a source at another
Japan last imported 23,702 tonnes of feed corn from China in
2010, according to trade data, and its new purchases come as
China intensifies efforts to tackle a massive glut of the grain.
Small volumes of corn were also imported from Vladivostok,
Russia, by Mitsui & Co Ltd and Marubeni, two trader
Mitsubishi, Marubeni and Mitsui declined to comment on the
Faced with falling inventories, feedmakers in top importer
Japan tapped at least 330,000 tonnes of corn from emergency
stockpiles last month.
Japan imported a bit over 10 million tonnes of feed corn in
2016, according to official trade data.
(Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Tom Hogue)