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South Korea to Stockpile 500,000 Tons of Grains Overseas in 2014

South Korea, the world’s third-biggest corn buyer, plans to stockpile about 500,000 metric tons of corn, wheat and soybeans overseas for feed use in 2014 as part of efforts to help ensure supply amid surging global prices.

The government will also encourage local farmers to boost production and seek cooperation from other countries through Group of 20 meetings and international organizations to minimize the impact of higher prices, according to a statement on the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries website, which didn’t list potential sites.

Dry weather from the U.S. to Russia to Australia curbed grain supplies, driving up prices this year. Corn and soybeans climbed to all-time highs, signaling higher food prices and boosting costs for producers of livestock feed. World food prices will exceed the all-time high set last year, Rabobank International said yesterday. South Korea imports almost all its corn and wheat needs, while it is self-sufficient in rice.

Apart from overseas stockpiling, the Asian nation will boost state reserves for imported soybeans for food use to 71,000 tons next year from 47,500 tons this year and eventually double to 95,000 tons in later years, according to the ministry.

December-delivery corn dropped 0.2 percent to $7.5475 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade at 9:31 a.m. in Seoul. The price has gained 17 percent this year, reaching a record $8.49 on Aug. 10, while soybeans jumped 39 percent, touching an all-time high of $17.89 on Sept. 4.

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