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U.S. Soybean Exports, Domestic Use Seen Higher, USDA Says

Combined U.S. soybean exports and crushings will be 0.8 percent more than forecast a month ago, the government said. Estimated inventories before this year’s harvest were left unchanged because of bigger current supplies than earlier forecast.

Stockpiles on Aug. 31 will total 125 million bushels (3.39 million metric tons), down from 169 million a year earlier, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today in a report. Inventories would be the smallest since 2004. The average estimate of 35 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News was 138 million. Through yesterday, futures in Chicago fell 22 percent since reaching a record in September as South America farmers planted more.

“It’s still a tight supply story until we get further into the U.S. growing season,” Randy Mittelstaedt, the director of research for R.J. O’Brien & Associates in Chicago, said before the report. “Now the market will watch the pace of domestic soybean-meal use and overseas exports of the animal feed for signs of a slowdown in demand and shift to South American supplies.”

In a quarterly report last month, the USDA estimated inventories of the oilseed on March 1 totaled 999 million bushels, 51 million bushels more than analysts were expecting. Bill Nelson, a senior economist for Doane Advisory Services Co. in St. Louis, said this was a sign that last year’s harvest was bigger than the USDA’s estimate of 3.015 billion bushels. Reserves were still the lowest since 2004 and down 27 percent from a year earlier.

Soybean Futures

Soybean futures for May delivery fell 0.1 percent to $13.9475 bushel at 7:48 a.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soybean meal for May delivery was little changed at $394.90 for 2,000 pounds. The high-protein animal feed dropped 5.9 percent this year through yesterday, after jumping 34 percent in 2012.

The forecast for U.S. exports in the marketing year that began Sept. 1 was raised to 1.35 billion bushels, from 1.345 billion estimated in March.

About 1.635 billion bushels will be processed into soybean meal and soybean oil, up from 1.615 billion estimated last month and down from 1.703 billion a year earlier. Residual consumption of soybeans was forecast at 5 million bushels, compared with 30 million projected in March and 1 million bushels a year earlier.

The average cash price farmers will receive in the year that began Sept. 1 will be a record $14.30, unchanged from a month ago and up from $12.50 last year, the USDA said. The average price of soybean meal in Decatur, Illinois, was forecast at $425 for 2,000 pounds, down from $435.00 forecast in March and $393.53 a year ago.

World Production

Aggregate world soybean production will total 269.63 million tons, more than the 268 million forecast in March, the USDA said. In the previous year, output was 239.77 million tons.

Brazil, which began harvesting in February, is projected to pass the U.S. as the top producer for the first time. The country’s output was forecast at a record 83.5 million tons, unchanged from a month earlier and up from 66.5 million a year ago. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expected 82.86 million, on average.

Argentina, the biggest shipper of soy-based animal feed and vegetable oil, may harvest 51.5 million tons, unchanged from last month and up from 40.1 million last year, the USDA said. Analysts expected 50.58 million tons, on average, after dry weather damaged crops earlier this year.

Global inventories at the end of this marketing year will be 62.63 million tons, up from 60.21 million forecast in March, the USDA said. Analysts expected 60.1 million tons, on average. A year earlier, supplies totaled 55.13 million.

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