According to China Custom, China exported 623,095 tonnes of corn starch in 2020. Specifically, March, 2020 had the most export volume of 110,031 tonnes. However, the export volume of corn starch started to decline since April due to the foreign pandemic of COVID-19, and April witnessed a MoM decline of 20.82% or 22,904 tonnes. It is understood that in Q4 2019, Indonesia conducted an international tender for corn starch, the advantegeous domestic prices of corn starch raised up the export orders of companies; additionally, in Q1 2020, the sluggish domestic demand for corn starch resulting from the pandemic supported the export demand, thus the export volume of corn starch in Q1 2020 increased. In Q2 of 2020, with the gradual decrease in grass-roots grain sales and the postponement of temporary storage auctions of corn, the market supply of corn was tight. Since April., the price of corn had risen rapidly, boosting domestic price of corn starch to go up, which weakened the export advantage of domestic corn. The export downturn of corn starch lasted from April to Dec.
As for price, China's export price of corn starch reached the highest in Dec. of USD401/t due to the following reasons:
The temperature had generally been low across the country since Dec., 2020. The snowfall in Shandong, Hebei and Henan Provinces had hindered the logistics and transportation, and the supply of transport vehicles had once dropped to the lowest;
The overall reduction in corn production, the depletion of temporarily stored corn, and the extension in corn starch stocking cycle of corn-processing companies for the Spring Festival of 2021led to the foreseeably tight supply of corn on market. Therefore the price of corn starch was pulled up sharply by its increasing cost, and corn starch companies had a strong willingness to sell the products at high price.
Figure Export volume and average export price of corn starch in China, 2020
In 2020, the top ten export destinations of China's corn starch were Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Thailand, Australia, South Korea, and Singapore. Among them, Indonesia was the largest importer with the volume of 253,257 tonnes, followed by Malaysia with 129,846 tonnes. The Philippines ranked third with an export volume of 92,698 tonnes. The export volume of of these three destinations accounted for 76.36% of total export volume in 2020.
Figure Top 10 export destinations of China's corn starch, 2020
The supply and demand of corn starch decreased simultaneously in 2020.
Supply side: The price of corn had risen sharply, which raised up the production cost of corn starch but dragged down the profit of corn starch processing companies. Besides, the high corn price had also restricted the operation of companies with tight cash flow. Therefore, the supply of corn starch decreased in 2020.
Demand side: On the one hand, due to the impact of the COVID-19, some companies had been slow to resume work and production; on the other hand, the continuous high price of corn led to the significant reduction in downstream demand.
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