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Indonesia eyes US imports as local stocks run low
Lloyd's List International, April 8, 2004
INDONESIA is expected to become a hub of activity in May according to market analysts, who believe that domestic corn supplies will soon run dry forcing the country to import from the US, writes Namrata Nadkarni.

According to sources, the country has almost expended all of its grain stocks and will soon be forced to import corn.

In normal market situations China would have been the source for this grain, but, in light of the shortages that the country is experiencing, it appears that Indonesia may be forced to buy corn from the US, which is now selling at more then $ 200 per tonne.

It seems ironic that the reason the Indonesian grain market is so tight is because traders were enticed by high market prices and cashed in by selling domestic stocks. This led to reduced domestic supplies that have driven market prices through the roof, with corn that sold at less than Rupiah13,000 ($ 1,511) per kg last year now selling at more than Rupiah16,000. Traders are now in the same position as those in China, with growing demand, escalating prices and no supplies.

Sources claim that Myanmar, which had been a supplier in the past, has now virtually eliminated corn exports to meet its own demand. They also said that it was unlikely that India or Pakistan would supply Indonesia as the corn did not meet Indonesian standards.

Ordinarily, Indonesia would see 95% of its annual corn requirements satisfied by China, however, within the first two months of this year, the country has already bought 95,000 tonnes from the US.

This is a large part of its annual corn imports, which are slightly over 1.7m tonnes.

Indonesia may also have trouble with its soyameal imports, with the high prices that have led to many traders considering imports of feed wheat in their place.

Analysts speculate that Indonesia may join South Korea in looking to Australia as a source for supplies.

However, with the bird-flu epidemic still not under control, traders are having problems anticipating demand for the animal feed.

They are likely to wait until the second half of the year before large shipments are booked.

Analysts believe that the large scale culling that has taken place in order to control the spread of the disease will cripple the commercial feed market as the poultry sector makes up 80% of the market demand.
MGR Archive 8.4.2004
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