Corn prices climbed above $6 a bushel to the loftiest level in almost eight years after the U.S. said it expects China to buy an all-time high amount of the grain off global markets.

A shortage of supplies and a need to replenish hog herds after a major outbreak of deadly African swine fever will continue to fuel China’s appetite for corn imports, with the total for the current season seen at 28 million metric tons, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Beijing office said on Wednesday. That would be the most on record based on Bloomberg data going back six decades.

The U.S. also predicts China, the top pork producer, will slash global corn purchases next year down to 15 million tons as it attempts to reduce reliance on foreign grains. Despite the sharp cut, that would still be the second-highest amount on record.


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