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U.S. Soybean Stocks Seen Lower as Shipments Strengthen

June 19 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. soybean stockpiles are seen smaller than previously estimated because of strengthening demand for the country’s exports and decreasing supplies in South America, Oil World said.

U.S. inventories at the end of the marketing year on Aug. 31 may be 4.2 million metric tons, down from a forecast three weeks ago of 4.6 million tons, the Hamburg-based researcher said today in an e-mailed report. Supplies may be as much as 400,000 tons smaller than the projection, “approaching absolute minimum pipeline requirements,” it said.

U.S. soybean crushing and net exports jumped 32 percent in May from a year earlier, Oil World said. Total stockpiles in South America’s five largest producers slid to 72.36 million tons on June 1, 25 percent less than a year earlier. Soybeans have climbed about 10 percent this year on the Chicago Board of Trade as drought cut South American output and Chinese demand increased.

“This creates a clearly bullish scenario, as the current unusually small stocks will enforce rationing in coming months,” Oil World Said. “Some rationing is likely to occur already in June and July, but most of it will be done from August 2012 until early 2013.”

China, the world’s biggest soybean consumer, imported a record 23.4 million tons from January to May, Oil World said. Purchases may reach at least 57 million tons in the 2011-12 marketing year that ends Sept. 30, or 9 percent more than a year earlier.

“It is still a major unknown whether logistics in the U.S.A. will be able to satisfy the prospective huge global demand for U.S. oilseeds and products in the coming six to eight months,” Oil World said. “Much will also depend on the further Chinese buying policy.”

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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