US reserves of corn have
hit their lowest level in more than 15 years, reflecting tighter
supplies that will lead to higher food prices in 2011. Increasing demand
for corn from the ethanol industry is a major reason for the decline.
The US Department of Agriculture reported Wednesday that the ethanol
industry's projected orders this year rose 8.4 percent, to 13.01 billion
bushels, after record-high production in December and January.
means the United States will have about 675 million bushels of corn
left over at the end of year. That's roughly 5 percent of all corn that
will be consumed, the lowest surplus level since 1996.