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BRAZIL CORN MARKET WATCH: Prices rise on planting delays, low supply

New Delhi — Corn prices in the major growing regions of Brazil continued to rise as concerns over delays in planting, low availability and reduced farmers' selling pushed prices higher.

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Average producer corn prices in some of the key growing states, namely Mato Grosso, Parana, Goias and Minas Gerais, during March 8-12 ranged between Real 68.79/60 kg-78.01/60 kg ($204.2/mt-231.5/mt), up 0.6%-3.4% week on week, data from Companhia Nacional de Abastecimento (Conab) showed.

Second corn planting in the nine states, which account for nearly 92% of the cultivated area, was complete in 71.5% of the total forecast area as of March 12, lagging behind 88.0% at around the same period last year, Conab said in its weekly crop progress report.

The delay in corn planting in Goias, the third-largest producer, does not allow any room for a price drop in the producing regions, Instituto para o Fortalecimento da Agropecuaria de Goias (IFAG) said.

Almost a quarter of the second corn crop area in Brazil will be sown outside the ideal planting window this year, exposing the crops to possible weather risks.

The first corn crop in Brazil is planted from September through December and harvested in February through May, while the second crop is planted after the soybean harvest in February and March and harvested in June and July.

The initial delay in sowing for much of Brazil's soybean crop in the South and Center-West regions and rains during the soybean harvest period have greatly hampered second corn planting in the country.

In the Southeastern and Southern parts of the country, producers are waiting for fresh bids as corn supply has fallen, while in the Midwest many farmers are focused on harvesting soybeans and planting the second corn crop, Brazil-based Centro de Estudos Avançados em Economia Aplicada (CEPEA) said in a note.

Corn prices in the state of Parana, the second-largest producer, show no signs of decreasing as the expectation is for greater demand and lower production in 2021, according to the state Secretariat of Agriculture and Supply.

Corn prices in Brazil are also supported by firm international prices, which are aiding Brazilian corn exports.

Brazilian corn exports in the first 10 business days of March totaled 226,383 mt at a daily average of 22,638 mt, compared with 21,485 mt in the whole of March 2020, data released by the Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade showed.

Brazil is expected to export 35 million mt of corn in 2020-21 (February 2021-January 2022), slightly higher than last season, according to the Conab forecast.

This week

Farmers in the state of Parana and Goias may get some relief from rains as there is no forecast for significant rainfall during March 15-22, according to Brazil's National Institute of Meteorology, and producers could advance the second corn planting in these states.

Corn trade in the domestic market is likely to be thin this week as there is considerable uncertainty over the size of the crop and crop supply is also low.