The United States is showing its muscle in the international grain market again, boosting its exports and taking over a growing share of total global trade, the Agriculture Department said.
The latest figures were included in a monthly review by the department's Foreign Agricultural Service, which said current sales activity "is characterized by a higher level of trade for wheat and corn, with a distinct
shift to the United States as supplier for both commodities."But the report added, "The big questions are how much tighter already low supplies in some key exporting countries will get for corn and some types of wheat, and what measures those countries will take to free up existing supplies for export."
Countries where smaller exportable corn supplies were reported are Argentina, Thailand, South Africa and several countries of Eastern Europe, including Yugoslavia and Romania.
The United States, although its corn harvest is smaller this year, has a large corn inventory, more than double the current export forecast, the report said.
"As a result of a combination of factors, not the least of which has been lower, more competitive U.S. prices derived from the 1985 farm (law), the level of U.S. corn exports is expected to regain its traditional market share of about 75 percent in an expanding market," the report said.
Other factors cited in the comeback of U.S. corn exports included: weather-related crop shortfalls in some other countries; the absence of buffer stocks held by exporters outside the United States; domestic economic conditions; and changing government policies in competing countries.
According to new projections included in the report, total world corn trade in 1987-88 will be about 56.8 million metric tons, of which the United States is expected to have 43.2 million tons, a 76.1 percent share.