High U.S. Corn Prices Could Mean Lower Market Share

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Corn prices in the United States are too high and run the risk of losing market share for the world s biggest supplier, while corn yields may be better than expected despite gloomy forecasts, Hamburg- based oilseeds analystOil World said Sept. 19.

These factors are bearish in the near term for soybean prices, Thomas Mielke, head of global oilseeds atOil World,said at the SE Asia US Agricultural Co-operators Conference.

Prices of soybeans and soymeal have peaked for the time being, said Mielke. I expect in the near term, bearish factors will dominate, first in the futures market, but also spilling over into the cash markets.

The bullish factors that are known at the moment, are discounted in the prices, he added. It could last until September/ December this year.

Strong demand from developing Asian countries such as China, the world s second-largest corn consumer, coupled with the hottest summer in over half a century in the United States, has pushed Chicago Board of Trade corn futures to record highs recently.

U. S. corn prices have become too high, relative to other origins… and there is a risk that the U.S. is losing export market shares, Mielke said. U. S. yields of corn, probably also of soybeans but too early to say, may turn out slightly above expectations.

Although the ongoing economic and debt uncertainty in the United States and Europe is another reason to be cautious on soybeans in the near term, Mielke said there was scope for upside in the medium term.

The downward potential is clearly limited, as long as global stocks of agricultural commodities, have not been raised sufficiently, he said, adding that global soybean production is likely to shrink by about five million tonnes for 2011-12.

Limiting factors are land, water and logistics, Mielke said. A breakthrough in yields is required, or alternatively we have to expand land. We cannot promote other uses like biofuels… and at the same time, stop expansion of agricultural land.

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