April 24, 2018 / 4:17 AM / 7 months ago

U.S. sorghum initially bound for China diverted to Saudi Arabia

SINGAPORE/DUBAI (Reuters) - Three cargoes of sorghum from the United States bound for China have switched destinations to Saudi Arabia after being sold to a private buyer, a Middle East-based trading source with knowledge of the matter said on Tuesday.

A field of sorghum (milo) grain is seen at a farm outside of Texhoma, Oklahoma, U.S., in this undated photo released to Reuters on April 3, 2018. Courtesy Jerod McDaniel/Handout via REUTERS

Thomson Reuters Eikon ship-tracking data showed a vessel carrying 69,842 tonnes of sorghum switch destinations to Dammam, Saudi Arabia from China earlier in the day.

The three cargoes were sold to Saudi Arabia at a price of $190 a ton delivered, trade sources told Reuters.

The BTG EIGER departed with U.S. sorghum from Archer Daniels Midland Co’s Corpus Christi grain elevator in Texas on March 3, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Federal Grains Inspection Service.

(GRAPHIC: Vessel bound for China carrying U.S. sorghum switches destination to Saudi Arabia - reut.rs/2Fbz0pV)

Several ships carrying U.S. sorghum to China have changed course since Beijing slapped hefty anti-dumping deposits on U.S. imports of the grain last week, trade sources and a Reuters analysis of export and shipping data showed.

There are 22 waterborne vessels carrying U.S. sorghum that were loaded for China, the USDA data showed.

China imports sorghum for use in livestock feed and to manufacture the liquor baijiu.

Saudi Arabia is not a big sorghum importer, but it is the world’s 10th-largest buyer of corn. The country is forecast to import 4.5 million tonnes of corn this year, USDA estimates showed. Some of the sorghum is expected to replace corn in animal feed rations.

Reporting by Maha El Dahan in Dubai, Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Karl Plume in Chicago; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Dale Hudson

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