Soybean Shipments Are Seen Sliding Before U.S. Harvest

Soybean shipments from five major exporting countries “dropped significantly” last month before global supplies become replenished when the U.S. harvest starts in the next few weeks, Oil World said.

Combined exports from the U.S., Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay fell to 6.09 million metric tons in August, a “multi-month low” and 24 percent less than the same time last year, the Hamburg-based researcher said in an e-mailed report. The U.S. harvest, the world’s biggest, will start in the next few weeks and farmers are expected to produce a record crop, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“South American soybean supplies and exports are declining seasonally, while North American shipments were still depressed on tight supplies,” Oil World said. “New-crop export supplies will start increasing noticeably only from the second half of September onward.”

China, the world’s biggest soybean consumer, imported 4.2 million tons from the five exporting countries in August, down from 5.3 million tons at the same time in 2013, Oil World said. China’s imports may decline by a similar amount in September, it said. Purchases by Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, the EU and North Africa also fell last month.

Soybean exports from the five countries still rose to 109.54 million tons in the 2013-14 marketing year that ended Aug. 31, some 20 percent more than the prior season, Oil World said. Exports and domestic processing combined slid 10 percent in August to 16.6 million tons, the first year-on-year decline in more than 12 months. For the full 2013-14 season, cumulative disposals were 12 percent higher than the previous year.

Ample Supplies

Soybean futures on the Chicago Board of Trade, the global benchmark, have tumbled 26 percent in the past year as the outlook for ample world supplies offset the increase in demand. The USDA said Sept. 11 that U.S. output in the 2014-15 season will rise 19 percent from a year earlier to 106.5 million tons, bringing world production to a record 311.1 million tons.

Soybean oil consumption in Argentina, Brazil and the U.S. for biodiesel will total 7.3 million tons in 2014, up 900,000 tons from the prior year, Oil World said. Soybean oil exports from those three countries and Paraguay will total 7.16 million tons, compared with 7.06 million in 2013.

“Demand from the biodiesel sector will sharply exceed soya oil exports from the three countries in coming months, highlighting the importance of the energy market for the soybean industry,” Oil World said. “Growing domestic usage and limited soya oil export supplies may become price-supportive factors for the vegetable oil market.”

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