Bloomberg News

U.S. Soybean Market Share Eroded by South American Competition

November 29, 2011

Nov. 29 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. soybean exports and crushings declined 22 percent in September and October compared with a year earlier as buyers instead purchased South American stockpiles, Oil World said.

Soybean shipments and crushings in the U.S., the world’s second-biggest exporter after Brazil, dropped to 13.74 million tons during the two months, the Hamburg-based oilseed researcher said in a report today. Exports and use in Argentina surged 15 percent and disposals in Brazil gained 21 percent, according to the report. Exports and use in South America jumped to 22.2 million tons, the highest ever, the researcher said.

“U.S. soybean producers and exporters suffered from the unprecedented competition from South America,” Oil World said. “Record South American soybean disposals are to be seen as the major reason for the reduced U.S. soybean crushings and exports in September and October.”

Soybeans futures have dropped 20 percent this year, partly on declining demand for raw materials used to make food amid economic crises in the European Union and U.S.

Soybean exports from Brazil will probably total 1.8 million tons in November, up from 1.41 million tons in October, according to the report.

“The bulk of Brazilian soybean exports was destined for China in recent weeks, causing a loss of market share for U.S. exporters,” Oil World said.

Argentine Planting

Soybean planting in Brazil was about 78 percent complete on Nov. 18, up from 76 percent at the same time a year ago and a five-year average of 68 percent, Oil World said. In Argentina, planting was completed on 8.3 million hectares (20.5 million acres), up from 7.9 million at the same time a year ago, according to the report.

A La Nina weather system that is expected to bring dry weather to South America may hurt plants in some parts of Brazil, the researcher said.

“With La Nina conditions expected to continue in December and January, there is the risk of below-normal rainfall and crop stress in Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Parana,” Oil World said.

--Editors: John Deane, Alastair Reed

To contact the reporter on this story: Tony C. Dreibus in London at tdreibus@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at Ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net.


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