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Argentina suspends corn exports

Published on 18 November, 2006, Last updated at 10:46 GMT


Argentina, the world's second-biggest corn exporter has suspended "for an undetermined period" new corn export orders beginning November 20 in the latest effort by the government to rein in inflation.

The halt on new requests by exporters to sell corn abroad in the coming season will allow the government to audit existing orders for 10.5 million tons, Agriculture Secretary Miguel Campos said Friday. Campos cited concerns that international demand will limit domestic corn supplies and lead to higher prices for Argentine consumers and livestock producers.

``If we let the increased pace go on, we wouldn't have enough corn for the domestic demand,'' Campos said in a news conference.

Argentine consumers and producers will demand about 8 million tons out of the country's 18 million ton harvest, Campos said. The existing export orders compare with requests to ship 800,000 tons made by this time in the previous season, he said.

However Campos denied that the purpose of the government was to hike export taxes and insisted that by next March when the export high season begins market conditions will be operational.

"There's no definitive date for an end to the ban on exports, rather it will last until the auditing is over and to ensure market conditions are not abusive"

President Nestor Kirchner has sought to slow inflation this year by limiting or banning exports of wheat and beef. His government has also reached agreement with many companies which supply basic consumer goods to maintain prices for the next twelve months.


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