South Korea to ramp up corn imports to meet anticipated surge in demand

SOUTH KOREA – South Korea’s corn imports for market year 2022/203 are forecast to rise 5% from the current marketing year estimate to meet an anticipated spike in consumption, according to a report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).   

Corn imports are expected to rise to 11.9 million metric tonnes (MMT) driven by feed corn imports which are forecast to increase seven percent to 9.6 MMT to support further growth in animal inventories, USDA said.  

Consumption is forecast at 12.0 MMT, up 6 percent from the current marketing year estimate, consisting of 9.6 MMT for feed purposes and 2.4 MMT for food, seed, and industrial (FSI) purposes.  

Feed corn consumption is forecast to increase by 650,000 MT due to anticipated growth in animal inventories and the anticipated recovery of feed corn availability from Ukraine. 

Meanwhile, the USDA has revised 2021-22 overall corn consumption in South Korea down 4% from its previous forecast to 11.3 million tonnes. 

Feed corn imports are also expected to drop 500,000 tonnes, to 9 million tonnes, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.   

Compound feed production is forecast to reach 21.3 million tonnes in 2022-23, up from 21.1 million tonnes in the current year, as cattle, swine, and poultry inventories continue to grow to meet higher consumer demand for meat products.  

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Corn is expected to remain the major ingredient used in compound feed with a 45% inclusion rate (9.6 million tonnes), followed by feed wheat (1.3 million tonnes). 

Wheat production rises as consumption falls 

Meanwhile, wheat production is expected to exhibit a marginal increase in MY2022/23 due to an increase in acreage under the crop.  

According to USDA data, wheat production is forecast at 30,000 metric tons (MT), up one percent from the current marketing year estimate of 29,835 MT. 

Wheat consumption in 2022-23 is forecast at 3.7 million tonnes, down from 4.4 million tonnes in the current year as USDA officials anticipate feed wheat consumption will revert towards the 1.3 MMT five-year average while FSI consumption remains steady at 2.4 MMT. 

Depressed consumption is also expected to lead to a 12 percent decline in Wheat imports which are now forecast to reach 4.2 million tonnes in 2022-23.  

In MY2021/22 flour imports are estimated at 21,000 tonnes (wheat equivalent), up 31% from the previous year driven by strong bakery sector demand.  

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