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U.S. Soybean Exports Seen Setting Record as South America Fades

U.S. soybean exports may climb to a record this quarter as shipments from South America fall amid dwindling supplies, Oil World wrote.

Deliveries from the U.S. may advance to 20 million metric tons for the quarter, the Hamburg-based oilseed researcher wrote in an e-mailed report today. That compares with 19.2 million tons a year earlier and 14.3 million tons in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Soybean futures slid 7.5 percent in Chicago trading this year on an outlook for increased production in the U.S., set to be the world’s second-biggest grower of the oilseed after Brazil. The South American nation shipped out 97 percent of its export supplies of soybeans in the year’s first nine months, according to Oil World.

“U.S. soybean exports will have to be stepped up significantly, especially if compared to the preceding seven months, to satisfy world import demand,” the researcher wrote. “With U.S. exports in September still very low, they will now have to accelerate.”

The U.S. shipped 5.83 million tons of soybeans in the six months through September, compared with 15.2 million tons a year earlier and 10.4 million tons in the equivalent period in 2011, according to Oil World. Brazil’s six-month exports rose to 39.6 million tons from 29 million tons a year earlier and 27.9 million tons in the same span in 2011, the report showed.

Outbound Shipments

U.S. soybean deliveries are expected to average 6.7 million tons a month this quarter, from 1.14 million tons shipped in September and 370,000 tons in August.

“Weekly export inspections have to increase substantially from now on,” Oil World wrote. “At the same time, U.S. wheat and corn exports are also increasing, which could create bottlenecks along the Mississippi River.”

South American soybean shipments are estimated at 3.78 million tons in the fourth quarter, up from 2.16 million tons a year earlier and compared with 7.23 million tons in the final three months of 2011.

Argentina is the “major swing factor” for deliveries from South America, as Brazil is left with 1.4 million tons of soybeans for export in the fourth quarter after shipping out 40.6 million tons in the first nine months, Oil World wrote.

Argentine Currency

Farmers in Argentina have been “reserved” soybean sellers as they retain crops as a hedge against inflation and wait for a potential devaluation of the official currency exchange rate, the industry researcher wrote. The country’s fourth-quarter exports of the oilseed may be 1.74 million tons, from 600,000 tons a year earlier, according to Oil World.

South American summer crop planting is delayed after “unusually” dry conditions in parts of Brazil and Argentina, the researcher wrote.

Farmers in Argentina are unlikely to fully realize corn and sunflower sowing, potentially resulting in a record soybean area of 20 million hectares (49 million acres), according to Oil World. Brazilian growers may also switch area to soybeans, according to the report.

Should moisture shortages continue until November in Brazil and December in Argentina, soybean planting will be curtailed and conditions for early germination will be “unsatisfactory,” creating bullish conditions for the oilseed, Oil World wrote.

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