Corn to UAE : Low-Price Suppliers Push the US Corn


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The UAE is highly dependent on Corn import. The USDA forecasts UAE Corn imports in MY2022/23 to increase by roughly 17 percent or 100,000 MT to reach 700,000 MT. This increase is attributed to expected high demand from the growing dairy and poultry industries. The UAE Corn imports in MY2021/22 were estimated at 100,000 MT at 600,000 MT.

In MY2020/21, UAE’s Corn imports from the world dropped slightly by less than one percent or 4,040 MT to reach 641,550 MT compared to 645,600 MT in MY2019/20. Due to the competitive prices, Argentina was the primary supplier for the UAE market with total exports of 337,440 MT in MY 2020/21, representing 53 percent of UAE’s total Corn imports, with 28,600 MT or a 9 percent increase from the previous marketing year at 308,830 MT. The United States was the second largest supplier with total exports of 95,000 MT, representing 15 percent of UAE’s total Corn imports, with 87,000 MT or a 265 percent increase from MY 2019/20 exports of 26,042 MT.

Other suppliers include Ukraine at 13 percent or 86,900 MT, Brazil at 12 percent or 80,200 MT, India at 3.3 percent or 21,300 MT, and South Africa at 3 percent or 19,400 MT. From October 2021 through January 2022, U.S. Corn exports to UAE were at 3,150 MT compared to 3,400 MT same period of 2021 compared to 11,100 MT of exports from Brazil during the same period and 93,600 MT from Argentina from October 2021 through February 2022. According to the AgFlow data, Argentina led their import market with 0.3 million tons in 2021-2022, followed by Ukraine (0.1 million tons) and Brazil (0.07 million tons).

The UAE Corn: Low-Price Suppliers Push the US

The US Corn Exports to the UAE

The USDA forecasts U.S. Corn exports to the UAE in MY 2022/23 to remain stable at 100,000 MT. There is a high expectation that U.S. exports to fill the gap resulting from the absence of Ukraine as one of UAE’s major Corn suppliers. According to USDA’s recent Grain: World Markets and Trade Report, Argentina (UAE’s top Corn supplier) and Brazil (UAE’s fourth largest Corn supplier) are both forecast to have record Corn production in their 2021/22 (March 2022-Feb 2023) marketing years; however, these Corn supplies will not be available to the world market for another few months.

With Brazil usually beginning harvest of its heavily exported second crop in June or July, a higher percentage of late-planted Corn in Argentina could push overall South American Corn availability to later in the calendar year. In addition, the ongoing military action in Ukraine (UAE’s third largest Corn supplier) may give the United States some spaces.

U.S. corn exports to the UAE steadily increased over the last five years, reaching their highest volume in the previous decade at 95,000 MT in MY 2020/21. It was 26,042 MT in MY 2019/20. However, lower prices offered by other suppliers, mainly Argentina, Ukraine, and Brazil, have limited U.S. competitiveness in the UAE market. In MY2020/21, the U.S. was UAE’s second largest corn supplier, with a 15 percent market share. From October 2021 through February 2022, U.S. corn exports to UAE were at 3,948 MT compared to 24,542 MT from October 2020 to February 2021. The USDA expects that with the ongoing war and Ukraine’s inability to resume corn exports, U.S. corn will substitute Black Sea supply.

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