China maize output to hit record high. (Photo/CNS)
China's maize production could hit a record high of 215 million tonnes in 2013 despite drought and flooding in the country's major breadbaskets, according to estimates by two industry organizations.
This year's maize output is about 7 million tonnes more than last year's harvest of 208 million tonnes, figures from both the State Administration of Grain and China National Association of Grain Sector show.
The harvest comes after severe drought in the south and flooding in the northeast. Some of the worst floods in decades left at least 85 dead in Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning provinces, causing crop failure and losses of billions of yuan.
Drought hit several southern provinces this summer, bringing serious shortages of drinking water for millions and the destruction of large areas of cropland.
The bumper harvest means rising maize stocks at a time when demand is slack, agricultural experts say.
"We predict consumption (of maize) will be 197.5 million tonnes in the year from 2013 to 2014, about 14 million tonnes below output," said Liu Xiaoran, deputy secretary-general of CAGS's maize branch.
"The maize supply exceeds demand as both stocks and imports are high, while the weak economy has also affected the demand for maize for processing," said Li Tong, an analyst with Zhengzhou Grain Wholesale Market in central China's Henan province.
China imported 1.75 million tonnes maize in 2011 and 5.2 million tonnes in 2012, according to figures from the General Administration of Customs.
Liu said the pressure from excessive supply and rising imports would further lower the maize prices in the domestic market.
Spot price for maize in Chinese market is currently standing at 2,400 yuan (US$392) per tonne.