China may curb its imports of corn for industrial use as consumption is expected to grow at the slowest pace in at least five years, according to reports.

The amount processed may grow by 5% to 55 million metric tons in the year ending September 30, compared with 11% in 2011, said analyst Zhang Zhixian. Lower Chinese demand for imported corn has caused corn prices to fall 17% since August 31, 2011, as have high grain supplies and European economic concerns. “Industrial corn consumption is much more dependent on the economy, which is seen slowing,” said Zhang. “The rapid growth of the sector is over, and it is settling down to a modest and stable rate."

China's corn supply will be more “comfortable” in 2012 because of a record harvest, said Zhang, who estimated that output may rise 9% to a record 180 million tons. China will receive 3.5 million tons of shipments from the U.S. in the 2011-2012 marketing year, purchased in 2011 and contracted to be delivered through 2012. Livestock corn demand, the largest share of China's consumption, may rise by 5 million tons to 105 million tons at a more “sustained pace,” said Zhang.