Argentina will suspend corn exports until March 1, the country’s ag ministry said in a statement today. The statement said, “This decision is based on the need to ensure the supply of grain for the sectors that use it as a raw material for the production of animal protein such as pork, chicken, eggs, milk and cattle, where corn represents a significant component of production costs.”
The statement also indicated that so far in the 2019-20 marketing year, Argentina has authorized 34.23 MMT of corn for export out of the 38.50 MMT exportable tally. The measure aims to keep the remaining 4.27 MMT at home for domestic consumption.
The surprise moved help March corn futures to surge to its highest level since May 2014 on the weekly continuation chart. The move was blasted by farmers and farm groups who say such moves undermine business confidence and was unnecessary. At least one farmer cited by Reuters questioned whether wheat might be targeted next.
Long-time analysts have recently noted concerns that dry La Nina-influenced weather could have a major impact on Argentina’s crop, far more so than most currently project. Covid-19 concerns may also have come into play with the decision.