Malaysians eat a lot of chicken - upwards of 110 pounds per year per person. More of those chickens will soon be eating U.S. corn thanks to the arrival of a 2.68-million-bushel bulk shipment last month, the second shipment received from U.S. origin recently following a five-year purchasing hiatus.
Malaysian traders are predisposed to South American corn, but Brazil’s crop failure last year and a subsequent slashing of corn exports led them to turn to the most cost-effective and reliable origination point for corn around the globe - the United States. Barges of corn from Illinois and several other American states traversed the Mississippi River to the Port of New Orleans before departing on a 35 to 40-day overseas voyage to Port Klang in Malaysia.
“The arrival of this corn cargo into Malaysia brings total corn imports to more than 162,000 metric tons (6.38 million bushels) for this crop year,” said Kevin Roepke, regional director for the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), which promotes the export of U.S. feed grains. “This year’s crop quality is excellent, which in combination with challenges in logistics, production and price, led Malaysian buyers to turn back to U.S. origin corn.”
Significant engagement from the Council played a role in the new purchases, culminating with the first shipment of U.S. corn received in August 2016.
Malaysia represents a growing market for U.S. grain exports thanks to increasing demand for livestock - including chickens - and a diminishing ability to meet that need locally. Animal feed demand across the Southeast Asia region continues to grow undeterred, driven by the dynamic livestock sector as well as interest and investment in the region’s feed sector.
As a result, the Council will continue working to identify opportunities to increase U.S. market share in the region, resulting in win-win trade for U.S. feed grains and end-users in countries like Malaysia.
The Illinois Corn Marketing Board is a significant funder of the U.S. Grains Council.