By Richard Smith
DTN Tokyo Correspondent
TOKYO (DTN) -- Vietnam's imports of distillers' grains (DDG) for feed, almost exclusively from the U.S., have soared as Vietnamese pork producers attempt to build herds to keep up with increased China demand for the meat.
USDA Foreign Agricultural Service's Global Agricultural Trade System statistics provided by U.S. Grains Council Southern Asia and Oceania regional director Kevin Roepke show 660,000 metric tons of U.S. DDG were shipped to Vietnam last year. At the time, the U.S. had virtually the whole Vietnamese DDG import market to itself, Roepke said. Now some of that market is going to South America.
With the increased demand, "we are seeing some Argentine DDGs flow into the region now," he said.
USDA shows a 44% increase in U.S. DDG exported to Vietnam from January-April this year compared to the same period last year, from 178,773 to 257,097 metric tons. Roepke said the USGC does not make forecasts or predictions, so he could not answer questions about potential import capacity for this year or how long the current situation would last.
"The U.S. will maintain a tremendously high market share for DDGS, as the Vietnamese prefer U.S. origin for its availability, quality and logistical advantages," he said.
U.S. corn exports will also be positively affected by the feed import demand surge, as the U.S. is poised to be in an advantageous position to export corn to Vietnam, Roepke said. "Prices and logistics are in our favor," he said.
However, Vietnam hasn't imported U.S. corn since 2014. "Nevertheless, the council is aggressively advocating for the Vietnamese to purchase U.S.-origin corn right now, with several U.S. corn and DDGS promotional programs focused on Vietnam this month alone," Roepke said.
Vietnam accounted for about 5% of all DDG exports from the U.S. last year, making it the third-largest market behind China and Mexico and just slightly ahead of South Korea, according to a Renewable Fuels Association report released earlier this year.
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