Driven by rising demand from the food industry and favorable weather, global corn production increased significantly in 2020. The rise in prices made the raw corn-based production of bioethanol unprofitable amid the low cost of traditional fuels due to the pandemic, resulting in the closure of some distilleries. In the future, the growing demand for alternative fuels is expected to offset this shift and promote the corn market.
IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘World – Maize – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.
Key Trends and Insights
Driven by rising demand from the food industry and favorable weather, global corn production grew by 2% to 1,435Ðœ tonnes in 2020 (IndexBox estimates). Brazil (+7M tonnes), South Africa (+1.2M tonnes) and India (+1.2M) tonnes indicated the most substantial increase in output.
Global corn exports saw a 6% rise, to 168.2Ðœ tonnes. In 2020, global corn prices increased substantially, from $170 per tonne in March 2020 to $240-280 per tonne in March 2021. Argentina retained the lowest competitive export prices in 2020 ($239 per tonne, FOB).
High corn prices resulted in lower competitiveness of corn bioethanol, which aggravated the pandemic-related drop in demand for biofuels. This led to bioethanol plants being forced out of production: according to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), approx. 20 out of the 200 ethanol production facilities in the U.S. remain idle; a further 20 have cut production. The volumes of corn intended for biofuel production were redirected to growing exports.
In the period to 2030, the global corn market is set to expand to 1.978M tonnes. Increasing corn consumption in the food sector driven by steady population growth remains the key development factor in terms of market expansion. The market for alternative fuels may yet see significant development, thereby increasing the demand for corn, should environmental standards become more stringent and a carbon tax on greenhouse emissions be imposed.
China, the U.S. and Brazil Consume more than Half of Global Corn Production
The countries with the highest volumes of maize consumption in 2019 were China (523M tonnes), the U.S. (322M tonnes) and Brazil (60M tonnes), with a combined 64% share of global consumption. Mexico, Indonesia, Argentina and India lagged somewhat behind, together accounting for a further 9.2%.
In value terms, the largest maize markets worldwide were China ($170.8B), the U.S. ($106B) and Mexico ($22.5B), with a combined 60% share of the global market. Indonesia, Brazil, India and Argentina lagged somewhat behind, together comprising a further 8.2%.
The countries with the highest levels of maize per capita consumption in 2019 were the U.S. (978 kg per person), Argentina (619 kg per person) and China (359 kg per person).
Brazil Leads in Exports
Brazil (43M tonnes), Argentina (29M tonnes), Ukraine (27M tonnes) and the U.S. (26M tonnes) represented roughly 79% of total exports of maize in 2019. The following exporters – Romania (4.6M tonnes), France (3.7M tonnes), Russia (3.1M tonnes), Hungary (3M tonnes), Paraguay (2.7M tonnes) and Bulgaria (2.6M tonnes) – together made up 12% of total exports.
In value terms, the U.S. ($8.9B), Brazil ($7.3B) and Argentina ($6B) were the countries with the highest levels of exports in 2019, together comprising 62% of global exports. These countries were followed by Ukraine, France, Romania, Hungary, Russia, Bulgaria and Paraguay, which together accounted for a further 28%.
In 2019, the average maize export price amounted to $229 per tonne, approximately reflecting the previous year. Overall, the export price, however, showed a pronounced contraction. The pace of growth was the most pronounced in 2017 an increase of 13% year-to-year. The global export price peaked at $301 per tonne in 2013; however, from 2014 to 2019, export prices stood at a somewhat lower figure.
Source: IndexBox AI Platform