* Says global grain glut won't be cleared in near future
* Says worries over protectionism not hitting Cargill trade
* Expects U.S, South Korea to keep supporting bilateral
(Adds graphic, details on global grain stocks)
By Jane Chung
SEOUL, May 12 Cargill Inc expects
international grain markets to remain oversupplied for a long
time due to bountiful harvests and a rise in storage, the head
of the global commodity trader said on Friday.
Bumper crops have flooded many markets, dragging on prices
for grains and hitting profits at agribusiness giants including
Cargill, Bunge Ltd, Archer Daniels Midland and
Louis Dreyfus Co.
"There's been several strong seasons of growth and almost
near perfect weather conditions both in North America and South
America," Cargill Chief Executive Officer David MacLennan told a
media briefing in Seoul.
"There are a plenty of supplies in storage, and Brazilian
farmers are holding on to their products in the hopes of better
prices ... but I don't see the clearing of excess supply or much
volatility to up commodity and grain prices in the near future."
Global corn, wheat and soybean inventories have risen for
four straight years in the longest stretch of increases since
the late 1990s, according to the U.S. government data.
Word grain and oilseed stocks are up 48 percent since
2012/13, compared with production growth of 18 percent and
consumption growth of 17 percent over the same period.
Minneapolis-based Cargill has been simplifying its
operations to shift its focus to higher margin-businesses such
as food ingredients. In late April, it said it would exit its
U.S. cattle business.
When asked about the possibility of making company
acquisitions, MacLennan said Cargill was always looking for
He added that the firm had no intention of going public in
the near future.
MacLennan also said that growing international worries over
trade protectionism after Donald Trump became U.S. president had
not affected Cargill's business.
"It is the early days of the new U.S. administration, so far
we have not seen any impact on trade flows and I'm optimistic
that would continue to be the case," he said.
He was also optimistic on trade between South Korea and the
United States, saying the two governments would continue to
support trade with each other.
His comments come as Trump said in a recent interview with
Reuters that his administration would renegotiate or scrap a
"horrible" deal with South Korea to protect U.S. trade.
Cargill also plans to keep boosting business in South Korea,
Cargill Agri Purina, a South Korean unit of the company,
plans to increase its feed production to 2.7 million tonnes per
year (tpy) by 2025.
(Reporting by Jane Chung; Additional reporting by Naveen
Thukral; Editing by Joseph Radford)