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Brazil adds 860,000 mt of corn to public stocks

Sao Paulo — Brazil added 860,000 mt of corn to public stocks through recent purchases, sending total public stocks to 1.19 million mt, a federal agriculture agency said Monday.

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Brazilian supply and demand agency Conab said it offered contracts with options for farmers to sell the government a total of 999,000 mt of corn.

Farmers signed up for those options between May and June, Conab said.

The government said 86% of the optional sales contracts were then executed by the producers during September.

A large part of the public corn stocks was sold to chicken and pork producers in mid-2016 when prices skyrocketed on the domestic market after strong exports.

"Brazilian corn production climbed to a record of 97.2 million mt in 2016-17 season. The scenario of ample stocks, domestically and internationally, pressured prices to levels below the minimum fixed by the government for the Center-West region, mainly in Mato Grosso state," Conab said, adding the low prices triggered the recent purchase scheme, as defined by law.

Conab said other mechanisms have been used to underpin domestic corn prices. Programs known as PEP and Pepro, which subsidize corn freight or the price difference between the Center-West producing areas and consumers in the South and the Southeast regions, helped to unlock trades totaling 9.1 million mt from farmers and cooperatives to consumers and exporters since April, Conab said.

--Gustavo Bonato,

--Edited by Dan Lalor,