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China Feed Mills Said to Have Bought Twice as Much Corn in March

Chinese feed mills bought twice as much corn this month than in February, said five company officials in the grains industry with direct knowledge of the transactions.

The mills bought 600,000 metric tons in nine cargoes of U.S. corn for delivery starting in October, boosting total purchases this year to about 900,000 tons, said the officials, who asked not to be identified because the deals are private. They requested that the sellers and purchasers not be identified.

Corn on the Dalian Commodity Exchange traded at 2,447 yuan a ton (about $10 a bushel) at 1:39 p.m. local time, while grain on the Chicago Board of Trade was at $7.1525 a bushel. Global demand will exceed supply by 13.7 million tons in the 2012-2013 season, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Surging incomes over the past two decades in China have fueled demand for meat and grains to feed livestock.

Suppliers of U.S. corn quoted the grain at about 2,100 yuan ($337) a ton including import taxes and port fees, for arrival in southern China after October, the officials said.

China bought a record of 5.23 million tons of corn from overseas in the marketing year ended Sept. 30, and shipments this year are forecast to fall to 2.5 million tons, according to the USDA.

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