Bloomberg News

Brazil May Face Soybean Export Delays in the Next Few Months

December 04, 2012

Brazil, set to overtake the U.S. as the world’s largest soybean exporter, may face shipping delays as a record crop is harvested, Oil World said.

Trucking shortages are likely to develop in Brazil during April and May as soybean shipments compete with the sugarcane harvest, the Hamburg-based researcher said today in an e-mailed report. Exportable soybean supplies from the U.S. probably will be depleted by then, providing little relief to importers from a South American backlog, it said.

“More and more observers question whether the expected record South American soybean crops can be moved in a timely manner in 2013, which we strongly doubt,” Oil World said. “Given the remoteness of the central and northern producing areas, trucks are essential for bringing soybeans to the ports. Long lineups of ships waiting for soybeans will therefore be the rule early next year, delaying the arrival in the importing countries.”

Brazil may harvest a record 81 million metric tons of soybeans this season, according to Oil World, in line with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s forecast. Dry conditions in southern growing areas should be “closely watched,” while wet weather in Argentina is increasing the risk that its planting targets may not be met, according to the report.

Soybean futures on the Chicago Board of Trade, the global benchmark, have climbed 21 percent this year by yesterday, touching a record $17.89 a bushel on Sept. 4, after drought cut U.S. yields following dry weather in South America last year.

Soybean Diversions

The European Union, the world’s second-largest soybean importer, is shifting purchases toward North America and Ukraine after supplies tightened in South America, Oil World said. In September and October, the 27-country bloc bought 1.148 million tons from Ukraine, Canada and the U.S., nearly twice the amount as the same time last year, while purchases from Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay slid 17 percent to 785,000 tons, according to Oil World.

“Soybean processors in the EU-27 have recently stepped up soybean purchases from the U.S., Ukraine and Canada to compensate the shortage of South American soybean supplies,” Oil World said. “EU soybean importers are facing stiff competition from other importers, primarily China,” the world’s biggest buyer.

Ukraine’s soybean exports may rise to a record 1.5 million metric tons in the 2012-13 season that began Aug. 1, up from 1.338 million tons a year earlier, Oil World said. The forecast is below the USDA’s estimate at 1.8 million tons. Oil World pegs Ukraine’s crop at an all-time high of 2.4 million tons, in line with USDA’s projection.

To contact the reporter on this story: Whitney McFerron in London at wmcferron1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net


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