Chinese Corn Imports Signify a Shift in World Food Markets

As we talked about before, China is now a net importer of corn for the first time ever. The chart is stunning:

Chinese Food Imports

As you can see, China used to export millions of tons of corn every year. No longer. That’s a potential big catalyst for corn producers. Also, the chart to the right of that shows you China’s climbing imports of soybeans. This, too, is a commodity that China used to export. Needless to say, China is a big market with a lot of mouths to feed. So if China is now regularly coming to, say, the corn market as a buyer, where it once was a seller, that’s a tectonic shift.

Another chart was about India, another big market. It shows you how prices for food have risen sharply and how Indian crop yields — in this case for rice — trail those of the rest of the world.

Rising India Food Prices

One way to make up that difference is to apply more fertilizer. Fertilizer use in India is below recommended levels, so it will be another big market. China may be the largest market for fertilizers and is further along than India. But as India catches up, that’s a lot of potential potash.

Chris Mayer
for The Daily Reckoning