March 19 (Bloomberg) -- Soybean use from the world’s top three producers dropped 10 percent in the last two months, compared with a year earlier, because of shipping delays from Brazil and slow farmer sales in Argentina, Oil World said.
Soybean crushing and exports from Brazil, the U.S. and Argentina totaled 26.21 million metric tons in January and February, down from 29.12 million tons in the same time in 2012, the Hamburg-based researcher said in an e-mailed report today. Demand has shifted to the U.S., where crushing and exports have “exceeded expectations,” reaching a record 56.3 million tons from September through February. Usage in the same period plunged 33 percent for Brazil and Argentina.
“South American soybean crushings and exports fell short of expectations in the past two months,” Oil World said. “Despite rapid harvesting of a record crop, Brazilian soybean crushings and exports were still down.” It cited shipping delays and a shortage of trucks.
Soybean futures reached a seven-week high in February on the Chicago Board of Trade on increased demand for U.S. product. The oilseed is down about 6 percent since then. Brazil may harvest a record 83.5 million tons of the oilseed, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In Argentina, crops are at risk of frost damage because of “unseasonably cold” weather, and production may be below its most recent forecast of 49 million tons, Oil World said. While farmers are “reserved sellers,” the harvest will accelerate this month. In Brazil, recent dry weather in Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul and Goias means harvesting is almost finished on at least 60 percent of soybean areas, Oil World said.
“Brazilian exports of soybeans are increasing seasonally but latest indications suggest that also in March soybean exports from Brazil will again fall short of requirements,” Oil World said. “There is ongoing competition between exports of soybeans and corn.”
U.S. soybean meal exports in February were 1.25 million tons, up 75 percent from a year earlier, Oil World estimated. Shipments since the marketing year began Oct. 1 are 56 percent higher than a year earlier, with “substantial increases” going to the European Union and Central America, it said. Argentina’s soybean meal exports since October fell 32 percent and Brazil’s shipments are down 21 percent from a year earlier.
U.S. shipments of soybean oil more than tripled from October through February, compared with the same period a year earlier, to 679,000 tons, Oil World said. Argentina’s exports fell 15 percent to 1.3 million tons and Brazil’s shipments dropped 45 percent to 327,000 tons.
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