Corn price steady into 2022; Pre-cooked food orders surge

Corn prices likely to remain stable into new year

Over the past month corn prices in China have remained generally steady without much action in the market. The May Dalian corn futures ended November at 2,680 yuan/ton and closed at just 2,664 yuan/ton on Wednesday, down 0.6% percent.

The cash markets have been similarly quiet. Cash prices in northern grain ports of Jinzhou and Bayuquan have remained steady or drop by only 10 yuan/ton on the day. Southern ports in Guangdong have seen more movement and prices fell 50 yuan/ton over the past month on feed grain arrivals from overseas.

Prices in interior markets fluctuated in a small range. Northeastern China has seen some strength over the past month with prices in Jilin and Heilonjiang rising between 30 to 80 yuan per ton. Heilongjiang prices are generally around 2380 yuan/ton or $373 USD/ton.

Northern China corn price is slightly lower, possibly due to a great ability to substitute feed wheat grown in the region, down 40 yuan/ton over the past month. Prices in Shandong are around 2790 yuan/ton or $438 USD/ton.

With the Chinese New Year fast approaching, farmers are not in a hurry to sell corn.

Additionally, cold weather that has spread across much of the country has weighed on logistics. Most operations are likely to take time off for the holiday starting on January 15th.

But there may not be the same sharp drops in activity that were seen during Chinese New Year pre-covid. Most localities are urging residents to celebrate locally and to avoid travelling for the holiday. This was a similar situation to last year and led to generally shorter downtime for many companies.

Meat price update

Pre-cooked food orders surge ahead of holidays

Orders of pre-cooked food in China surged ahead of the New Years holiday season as more people decide to spend the holiday locally.

An interview by China’s state-owned CCTV found the number of orders for pre-cooked food in Zhejiang province have more than doubled this year. In December alone, orders have jumped by 30-50%.

In recent years, ‘lazy economy’ and the pandemic have fueled the growth of pre-cooked food in China as it has become increasingly convenient and time-saving to heat and consume pre-made dishes.

Fast delivery in China is another key factor contributing to the fast growth of this industry. Most orders within the same city can be delivered within the same day. Deliveries of goods from other provinces generally take less than a week.

Meanwhile, another fundamental factor is a changing behavior for dining in China given the pandemic. Residents are becoming more willing to stay at home and order pre-cooked food online.

Companies such as Xianmeilai that specializes in pre-cooked seafood products is pursuing public listing in Shanghai.

Frozen pre-cooked food market in China expanded 18% in 2020 and is expected to grow 20% per year in the near future.