Corn

Sweet corn commodity
Corn is one of the world’s most widely grown crops and, as a commodity, it has the advantage of enjoying a well established market, a broad range of uses and a relatively stable commodity price. In many parts of the world, including the UK, the crop is referred to as maize.

An overview of the corn trading market

The largest corn trading nation is the United States growing some forty per cent of the world’s crop. Close behind, in terms of production and trading, come China, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and India. Current international production of corn totals some 525 million tonnes.

As with any other commodity, the trader’s aim should be to buy low and sell high. This requires the trader to build up knowledge of world harvest times and seasonal climactic patterns such as the annual Gulf of Mexico hurricane season. Although trading prices for corn are generally steady, the market pays close attention to periodic national crop reports. Traders already sitting on a profit often find that the period just before a crop report is a good time to sell.

Corn as a commodity: likely future developments

The development of bio-fuel processed from corn is likely to stimulate further growth of demand for corn as a commodity. Those trading in corn should be aware that bio-fuel producers prefer a variety known as ‘tropical maize’ which is more suitable for fuel production than the standard crop.

More than half the world’s corn crop, including most of that produced in the United States, comprises genetically modified grain. These varieties are raised to be more resistant to disease and pests which means that worldwide productivity per hectare is likely to increase over the next decade.

Read more about some of the other common commodities to trade.