Reuters – The world’s largest meatpacker JBS SA has imported 30 ship loads of corn into Brazil from Argentina after a drought and an ill-timed frost caused crop failure in its home market, according to a statement sent to Reuters.
JBS, which did not provide an exact figure for total imported corn, noted purchases from suppliers outside Brazil already represent 25 per cent of the corn it is using as feed, with volumes surpassing one million tonnes.
JBS said an excellent crop in Argentina had provided an opportunity for imports at more competitive prices. On average, the price of imported corn is between 15 to 20 reais per bag lower than in the domestic market, JBS said.
The company believes Brazil will export 15 million tonnes less of corn this season, and should import at least 4 million tonnes.
According to the government, Brazil will export 29.5 million tonnes of corn this season.
Officially, the government forecasts corn imports at 2.3 million tonnes. However, in relation to exports, global grain merchants have a more conservative figure, as they see shipments of only between 20 million tonnes and 22 million tonnes, a trader told Reuters.
Weather-related problems with Brazil’s second corn crop have sparked a spate of companies exiting their contracts on washout clauses, threatening exports from Brazil.
JBS said it will continue to monitor the market to source corn from competitive suppliers in a bid to protect margins.