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Corn pre-harvest sales in Argentina hit record high

Corn pre-harvest sales for 2019-20 in Argentina touched 12.6 million mt, the highest ever and almost three times the average pre-harvest sales in the last three years, data released by the country’s agriculture department showed Wednesday.

Farmers are keen to sell their produce before the incoming government of President Alberto Fernandez raises taxes on agricultural exports, analysts said.

To put the ailing Argentinian economy back on track, the newly elected government, set to take charge on December 10, may increase taxes on agricultural exports to bring in much-needed dollar revenue. Argentina currently taxes corn exports at about 7% based on Thursday’s exchange rates.

As of last week, corn planting in Argentina totaled 2.8 million hectares, or 44.3% of the projected area of 6.4 million hectares (15.8 million acres) for the 2019-20 season, according to a report published by the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange.

Corn sowing was at 2.1 million ha during the same period last year, the exchange report showed. For the 2018-19 season, corn acreage in Argentina was estimated at 6.3 million ha.

In Argentina, early corn is normally planted in September-October and harvested in April-May, while the second corn crop is usually planted in early December-January and harvested in June-July. Roughly 50% is early planted corn and the rest is the late planted one, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

The USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service projects Argentina’s corn output at 50 million mt in 2019-20, which refers to March 2020-February 2021 period, lower than its estimate of record 51 million mt in 2018-19.

Argentina is one of the largest corn producers and the world’s third-largest exporter.

The USDA report projects Argentina will export 33.5 million mt of corn in October 2019-September 2020 compared with its estimate of 32.9 million mt in October 2018-September 2019.
Source: Platts

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