Japan grain trader joins battle for Asian markets: FT report


TOKYO–Japanese grain trader Marubeni plans to take on the world’s largest agricultural commodity traders in shipping to emerging Asian markets as demand at home moderates, the Financial Times reported Monday. Presently the world’s sixth largest grain trader by volume, Marubeni expects to trade 20 million tonnes of crops such as wheat, maize and soya beans this year, of which only six million will be sold in Japan, the paper reported. The company plans to ship 25 million tonnes to customers by 2012 or 2013, said chief executive Teruo Asada, increasingly making it a rival to the likes of ADM, Bunge and Cargill in the United States, France’s Louis Dreyfus and Swiss-based Glencore. Japanese commodity traders have traditionally concentrated on imports of products such as oil to make up for sparse resources at home, but a shrinking population and unimpressive economic growth have led them to turn elsewhere, the report noted. “The grain majors are simply supplying corn, soy and other grains to China. But we’re using our grain to get into related businesses like milling and animal feed processing. That’s the sort of thing that only a general trading company can do,” Asada told the newspaper.