GLOBAL - Demand for US corn is particularly strong across Saudi Arabia and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, according to the US Grains Council (USGC).
Strong competition from Ukraine and Argentina slowed US corn sales in April after a strong start early in the year, but analysts expect shipments to reignite to the MENA region over the coming weeks.
They say the high-quality and competitive price of US corn is recognised by buyers in this region, with Saudi Arabia's evolving livestock sector and water policies step up demand.
While not the cheapest on the market, US corn represents the best value, says the USGC.
Elsewhere across MENA, it is "becoming obvious" that countries are returning to buy US corn following the 2012 drought.
USGC regional director, Cary Sifferath, said: “We are especially seeing strong U.S. corn sales to Saudi Arabia where key USGC partner companies are buying U.S. corn at even a higher rate than last year.
"This was the highest U.S. market share in Saudi Arabia in 15 years. We expect to see Saudi’s total corn imports increase and most likely double in size by 2016 as their dairy and poultry sectors continue to grow and the Saudi government’s water policy changes begin to take effect.”
As of May 28, the region’s accumulated exports and outstanding sales totaled more than 2.743 million metric tons (108 million bushels) of U.S. corn this marketing year. While this is slightly less than the previous year, it is still on track for another year of large exports to the region.