By Hallie Gu and Gavin Maguire
BEIJING / SINGAPORE, Sep 16 (Reuters) – China’s maize production is expected to fall by as much as 10 million tonnes, or nearly 4%, from the most recent government estimates, as strong winds and rains devastated crops the Northeast agricultural area, analysts said.
Production losses have pushed Chinese corn futures to record highs and fueled fears of a supply shortage in the world’s largest consumer of the grain after the government took steps to reduce massive state reserves and boost imports. “We believe that corn production in the Northeast region could drop by 5-10 million tonnes this year,” said Zhang Dalong, an analyst at COFCO, referring to the latest forecast by the Ministry of Agriculture for a crop of 260.7 million tons in the 2019/2020 season.
“The impact on grain production and quality will be felt in the long run,” Zhang said.
Three typhoons hit China’s main grain belt in the provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning and Inner Mongolia in late August and early September, crushing crops and flooding fields as the corn was ripening.
The Chinese government lowered its forecast for the 2020/2021 maize harvest by 1.8 million tons, to 265 million tons, due to the impact of typhoons, but the figures are still above the production calculated for 2019 / 2020.
(Reporting by Hallie Gu and Gavin Maguire. Edited in Spanish by Marion Giraldo)