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Brazil’s soybean exports seen lower on year in July

Brazil’s soybean exports to date in July are seen lower than a year earlier as farmers hoarding stocks stoke tight supply concerns, sources told S&P Global Platts July 20, which is expected to support US beans demand.

Brazil, the world’s top soy supplier, exported 5.55 million mt of soybeans in the first three weeks of July, down from 6.18 million mt in the same period a year earlier, the country’s Secretariat of Foreign Trade, or Secex, said in a report July 19.

However, average daily export shipments rose to 0.46 million mt in the latest week from 0.39 million mt in the previous week ended July 10, Secex said in the report.

As a result, market analysts forecast Brazil’s total July soybean exports at 9 million mt, down 5% year on year.

With a delayed harvest in the current marketing year 2020-21 (February-January), Brazil’s soy exports in June and July had been expected to emulate April and May in surpassing previous year’s levels, but the reluctance of oilseed farmers to sell their stocks since early June has put the brakes on the country’s exports.

Amid tight domestic supply and farmers unwilling to sell, local crushers have started importing more soybeans than in previous years, with most destined for the biofuel sector.

The country’s soybean imports surged to 151,299 mt in June from 89,762 mt a year earlier, the Secex data showed. This trend has continued into July, with Brazil importing 45,623 mt of beans to date in the month.

Soybean farmers in Brazil have resorted to stock hoarding amid volatile prices, market analysts said. The average domestic price was seen at Real 155/60 kg ($30/60 kg) July 10, down Real 7/60 kg on the month.

However, at 0455 GMT July 20, soybean futures on the Chicago Board of Trade, the reference point for global prices, were up 13 cents on the month at $13.50/bu for November deliveries.

China bids decline

Bids from China, the world’s largest soybean importer and Brazil’s top market, have also declined in recent weeks, market sources said.

Crushers in China, which have been grappling with slim margins since February, have become price-sensitive and would rather wait for margins to improve before purchasing soybeans in bulk, analysts said.

The China soybean gross crush margin was assessed at an average of minus $7/mt for August, swinging from the plus $28/mt averaged in January, Platts data showed.

The supply chain has also been adversely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic impacting road transport and port operations, sources said. Brazil’s coronavirus death toll had crossed 542,000 as of July 18.

Brazilian farmers are also keeping close tabs on the dry weather concerns in the US, Brazil’s top soybeans export competitor, analysts said. Crop ratings in North America have fallen sharply to 60% good-excellent from 69% last year as the Midwest, especially the northwestern parts, await substantial rainfall to improve extremely dry soil conditions.

Almost 31% of US soybeans acreage is currently experiencing drought, particularly in the upper Midwest, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

Poor US soybean crop quality typically signals lower-than-expected output, which is currently seen at 120 million mt.

In contrast, Brazil is forecast to produce a record 137 million mt of soybeans in MY 2020-21 and export an all-time high volume of 86 million mt, according to the latest market estimates.

Source: Platts

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