Brazil, the world’s largest soybean exporter, has for the first time ever exported over 100 million metric tons of the oilseed within a year, boosted by a record harvest and lower international prices, which buyers used to build up stocks.
So far in December, Brazil has exported about 1.99 million metric tons of soy, according to weekly data released by the foreign trade secretariat on Monday, bringing the total for 2023 to around 100.02 million metric tons.
The figure had already topped Brazil’s previous record for most soybeans exported in one year of 86.1 million metric tons, which it reached in 2021.
The new record was driven by an unprecedented harvest of around 155 million metric tons and importers such as China taking advantage of lower prices to build stocks.
“A historic level,” AgRural analyst Daniele Siqueira said. “But it’s also worth remembering that this record was set at the expense of much lower prices received by Brazilian farmers.”
Siqueira said the larger-than-expected 2022/23 harvest, sluggish forward sales and a national storage deficit had allowed importers to push export premiums to “very low levels” in the first half of 2023.
This resulted in less income for farmers, she added.
“With prices much lower than last year’s, importers took advantage of the moment more to replenish stocks than to make a big leap in consumption, which is slowing down,” Siqueira said.
Brazilian shipments also benefited from a devastating drought in neighboring Argentina, which slashed harvests, she added, pushing Argentina to sharply increase its own imports from Brazil.