October 26, 2015 / 7:50 PM / in 3 years

Ship carrying Brazilian corn heads to U.S. - shipping agents

SAO PAULO, Oct 26 (Reuters) - A ship carrying corn was scheduled to leave Brazil for the United States on Monday, three shipping agents said, as a strong dollar and plentiful South American supply makes importing corn attractive to U.S. buyers.

The ship owned by Bunge Ltd, carrying 54,000 tonnes of corn, was scheduled to depart Itacoatiara Port on the Amazon river, data from Williams Shipping agents and Brazil-based Cargonave showed.

A third source, who declined to be named, said the cargo was bound for the port of Wilmington, in North Carolina.

Bunge did not respond to a request for comment.

The sale reflects the increasing competitiveness of grains from Brazil, which has drastically increased output over the past decade and more recently has improved shipping logistics.

Brazil, the world’s No. 2 corn exporter behind the United States, harvested an all-time record corn crop of 84.7 million tonnes in the 2014/15 crop year.

The local currency, the real, has traded near its weakest levels ever in recent weeks due to an economic recession and political uncertainty, making Brazilian commodities imports more attractive overseas.

Asian buyers have snapped up corn as a result, but imports to the U.S. are still rare. The U.S. imported just 1,900 tonnes of Brazilian corn in 2014.

Hog and poultry producers in the Southeastern U.S. purchased two corn cargoes from South America for arrival in August and September while at least one other vessel was likely to arrive by March, three U.S. corn traders said in July.

Data from Chicago-based AGR Brasil shows that corn prices at Brazilian ports have been lower than ports in the U.S. in recent weeks. Broker Joseph Harroun, from Illinois-based Advance Trading, said the U.S. would import Brazilian corn to produce livestock feed until February. (Additional reporting by Marcelo Teixeira, Writing by Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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