Brazil to further increase corn exports

Brazil is expected to harvest a record corn crop in 2022-23, which usually depresses prices, but the expectation of firm demand on international markets points to sustained port differentials.

The outlook is optimistic for corn exports in Brazil, which are expected to hit a record high in 2022, reaching almost 43mn metric tonnes (t), according to the national association of grain exporters (Anec). The volume would be more than double the 20.6mn t shipped in 2021, when unfavorable weather conditions hurt corn yields. National supply company Conab projects the total 2022-23 corn crop at 125.8mn t, well above the 113.1mn t estimated for the 2021-22 crop, mainly because of an expected increase in planted area to 22.3mn hectares (ha) from 21.6mn ha. Market participants estimate that Brazilian corn exports will reach 44mn-46mn t in 2023.

Ukraine’s absence from the global corn market in the first months of the year, after the beginning of the conflict with Russia in February, lifted demand for Brazilian corn, as countries that usually relied on the eastern European nation had to look for alternative suppliers of corn. In March, export opportunities arose for Brazil’s summer crop for shipments in April-May, which is atypical, as most output comes from the winter crop, harvested in July.

A drop in corn production in other European countries because of adverse weather also increased Brazilian corn exports. Later in the year, Central American countries and Mexico began to buy Brazilian corn when navigation on the Mississippi river was interrupted by drought conditions, making it difficult to export US grains.

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