Demand for US Corn in Egypt, North Africa on the Rise

According to USDA's Production, Supply and Distribution database, Egypt is expected to import 6.2 million metric tons (244 million bushels) of corn in the year that began Oct. 1, 2013, which is the second highest level of corn imports to Egypt ever. In this dramatic turnaround, the United States is projected to enjoy at least a 30 percent market share in the 2013/2014 marketing year that began Sept. 1, 2014, after the market share dropping to less than one percent during the 2012/2013 marketing year. The U.S. Grains Council has been active in Egypt promoting the United States as the long-term, reliable supplier of corn.

USGC Regional Director of the Middle East and Africa Cary Sifferath has spent the past week in Egypt, meeting with major corn importers and end-users in the poultry sector. Sifferath was joined by Hesham Hassanein, hired last January as USGC Egypt marketing manager.

"Despite a still-struggling economy in Egypt, demand is picking up for livestock feed," Sifferath said. "Because of an abundant supply of U.S. corn from an exceptional harvest last year, U.S. corn prices are much more competitive in Egypt and the rest of North Africa."

According to USDA's Export Sales Report, Sept. 1, 2013, to March 20, 2014, accumulated exports and outstanding sales to Egypt have already exceeded 1.6 million tons (63 million bushels). Industry insiders project sales are likely to total 2 million tons (78.7 million bushels) for the 2013/2014 marketing year, which ends Aug. 31. The last three years, Egypt has imported a majority of its corn from Ukraine and South America.

"Due to the on-going difficulties in Ukraine, resulting in increased prices, we've seen importers switch to placing orders for U.S. corn from March through the summer months," Sifferath said. "We're also seeing a rebound in other North African countries, including Morocco and Tunisia, where market share has also been near zero the last two years."