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China Is Hoarding Grain And Corn Amid Global Food Shortages

Reuters/Selim Chtayti

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Jack McEvoy Energy & Environment Reporter
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China continues to stockpile large amounts of grain, tightening supply and inflating prices amid global food security concerns following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In March 2022, Ukraine exported just 1.1 million tons of corn, with about 400,000 tons going to China. In comparison, corn exports totaled 2.6 million tons a year ago, with nearly half of that volume going to China, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report released Sunday. (RELATED: Beijing Reverses Vax Mandate One Day After Announcing It)

With Ukraine’s corn exports currently being constrained by the ongoing war, China appears to be looking elsewhere for supplies. China imported roughly 42 million tons of grain this year so far; last year it imported about 50 million tons.

China made another large purchase of U.S. corn in mid-April from private sellers which totaled 1.020 million metric tons, according to the USDA. In early April, the country made a purchase that totaled 1.084 million tons, which was China’s largest corn purchase since May 2021.

Food prices and inflation are skyrocketing in the U.S. and globally as China continues to stockpile food commodities. This year, the price of corn remains high in comparison with historical trends; the current price of corn as of June 30 is $6.8525 per bushel, up roughly $1.30 per bushel since last year.

This photo taken on June 13, 2022 shows a combine harvester cutting wheat in a field in Binzhou, in China’s eastern Shandong province. – China OUT / TO GO WITH: China-economy-food, ANALYSIS by Beiyi SEOW (Photo by AFP) / China OUT / TO GO WITH: China-economy-food, ANALYSIS by Beiyi SEOW (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)

In the U.S., the Consumer Price Index for urban consumers, a key measure of inflation, went up by 1.0% in May and rose 8.6% over the last 12 months. The index for all food and energy items increased by 0.6% in May and was up 6.0% over the entire year.

Chinese state media has pushed back on assertions the country is hoarding grain, arguing the country’s food production is more than adequate to meet demand.

“Currently China supplies over 95 percent of its own needs for grain. It is unnecessary for the country to ‘hoard grains’ in the international market,” Global Times wrote in April.

General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party Xi Jinping said in April the country needs to be independent to achieve food security,  expressing concerns about China’s reliance on imports of food. Additionally, China’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs suggested the condition of China’s wheat crop yields could be the “worst in history,” in March.

China is expected to hold 69% of the world’s maize reserves in the first half of 2022, as well as 60% of rice and 51% of wheat reserves, according to data from the USDA. In recent years, China’s soybean, maize and wheat imports soared due to heavy purchasing from the U.S., Brazil and other nations.

The USDA did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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