Robust demand for corn (as both food and feed) has necessitated imports to supplement domestic production in South and Southeast Asia. Growth in feed use, particularly for hog and poultry sectors, has been the major driver, more than doubling corn imports in both regions since 2012/13; this is attributable to corn’s current price competitiveness relative to other feedstuffs such as wheat and barley.
In Southeast Asia, Vietnam and Malaysia lead the region in corn imports, driven by strong consumer demand for pork and poultry, respectively. Bangladesh is the leading corn importer in South Asia, following growth in the aquaculture industry.
Among major exporters of corn to South and Southeast Asia, the United States continues to lag behind Brazil and Argentina. Brazil is the primary exporter to Bangladesh, and Argentina is the primary exporter to Vietnam and Malaysia.
Traders in these regions prefer South American corn due to market perceptions over kernel hardness, moisture levels, and breakage. However, the competitive pricing of U.S. corn could open opportunities in these price-sensitive markets.