USDA’s forecast shows a 15 percent year-over-year increase in world corn exports but only a 2 percent year-over-year increase in corn imports. The reasons for the discrepancy are unclear – but probably reflect the growing importance of exports from South America where the crop years are out of synch with those in the Northern Hemisphere. In effect, at least a part of the big crops in South America in 2012/13 get exported during the 2013/14 international crop year. This makes crop year trade projections difficult.
If we assume that world corn trade in 2013/14 is near 100 million tonnes, the U.S. share of the world market would need to rebound to about 33 percent for us to export 1.3 billion bushels. The world corn market is dominated by just a few players. Together the top five countries (Brazil, Argentina, the U.S., Ukraine and India) account for 85 percent of all world corn exports. If imports increase by roughly 100 million bushels, then the U.S. needs to take the rest of the 500 million bushels from other exporting countries, essentially Brazil and Argentina. It helps if Brazil’s production declines by 200 million bushels as forecast by USDA, but we will still need to take some of the market share away from the other major exporting countries. That may be very difficult to do.