Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Who imports food and who exports it?
This information was condensed from a report by 'Stratfor Global Intelligence'.
Corn, rice, wheat and soybeans are the world's most important food staples.
Corn and soybean exports are dominated by the Western Hemisphere, and wheat by the Northern Hemisphere. Asia accounts for most rice, which is the most easily destabilized of the key staples due to its sensitivity to rainfall.
Ninety countries import corn, but only four export it in significant quantities: The United States, Brazil, Argentina and Ukraine.
The largest rice producer by far is China, but they consume most of their production domestically. The top exporters of rice in order of rank are Thailand, Vietnam, India, Pakistan and the United States.
Most of the wheat export market is dominated by ten entities: the United States, Australia, Russia, Canada, the European Union, Argentina, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Turkey and Uruguay. China is by far the largest producer of wheat, but as with rice, consumes almost all it produces.
The US, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina are the largest exporters of soybeans. China imports more than 60 percent of globally traded soy, and has been stockpiling in anticipation of future supply fluctuations.
Reading between the lines here, it's easy to see that America still "feeds the world". It's also easy to envision domestic unrest in import-reliant China when future food shortages and price increases occur.