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  • By Lynda Kiernan-Stone, Global AgInvesting Media

Ukraine on Pace to Become Top Supplier of Corn to China in First Half

As trade relations between the two countries solidify, and China strives to diversify its grain and oilseed origination, Ukraine is on pace to become the top supplier of corn to China in the first half of 2015.

As of May, China imported 403,881 tons of corn, mostly for livestock feed, with 95% of those imports originating from Ukraine. This latest data puts Ukraine’s total exports to China at 1.55 million tons, representing 90% of all the corn shipped to China for the first five months of the year.

Ukraine has only been shipping corn to China since 2012 when the two countries signed a $3 billion loan-for-corn deal; after which Ukrainian agricultural producers pursued deals and investments with Chinese companies such as the state-run grain trader, COFCO.

Until last year, the U.S. was the top corn provider to China, however for the first five months of 2015 China imported only 45,000 tons of U.S. corn – down 95% from the first five months of the previous year.

Other European countries have benefitted from China’s shift in origination strategy. Bulgaria shipped 99,000 tons of corn in the first five months, a 23-fold year on year increase.

This shift in increasing imports from Eastern Europe is believed to be part of China’s ‘Silk Road’ plan, under which it aims to create new trade routes between Asia and Europe, and strengthen maritime trade routes across Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean.

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