Weekly Product Updates

W20 2024: Soybean Weekly Update

Published May 24, 2024
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In W20 in the soybean landscape, the BCBA reduced Argentina's soybean production estimate by 500 thousand mt to 50.5 mmt for the 2024/25 season. Due to adverse weather conditions, São Paulo's soybean production in the 2023/24 season stood at 3.7mmt, with the average yield being 2.8 mt/ha, a 26.06% YoY decrease compared to the previous season. In addition, Brazilian soybean sales increased in Apr-24 due to improved domestic prices and a strong exchange rate, with approximately 50.7% of the 2023/24 soybean crop sold by May 6, 2024. This is a notable increase from early April but still falls short of last year's sales.Furthermore, China has developed a new method for producing protein using methanol, potentially reducing the country's reliance on imported soybeans. Global soybean production is expected to surge to 422.26 mmt for the 2024/25 season, marking a significant 6.3% YoY increase, primarily attributed to Brazil's robust performance. Lastly, soybean prices in Brazil rose by 2.44% WoW in W20, while the prices in Argentina, the US, and Uruguay remain unchanged.

1.Weekly News

Argentina

BCBA Revised Argentina’s Soybean Production Estimate Due to Flood Impact

The Agricultural Panorama of Argentina's Buenos Aires Grain Exchange (BCBA) has revised its 2024/25 soybean production estimate. The initial forecast has been reduced by 500 thousand metric tons (mt), bringing the final production projection to 50.5 million metric tons (mmt) due to floods in the Center-East of Entre Ríos. The harvest of second-class soybeans covers 43.2% of the suitable area, with an average yield above the historical average.

Brazil

Soybean Production in São Paulo Decreased by 26.06% YoY in 2023/24

The 8th Grain Survey for the 2023/24 harvest season in São Paulo, Brazil, reveals a significant decrease in grain production due to adverse weather conditions. Total grain production is projected to drop by 19.7% year-on-year (YoY) to 9.21 mmt. Soybean production in São Paulo was completed, standing at 3.7 mmt due to adverse weather conditions. The average yield was 2.8 mt per hectare (ha), 26.06% YoY lower than the previous season.

Rise in Brazilian Soybean Sales in Apr-24

Influenced by a strong exchange rate, Brazilian soybean sales increased in Apr-24 due to improved domestic prices. By May 6, 2024, approximately 50.7% of the 2023/24 soybean crop had been sold, a notable increase from 41.4% compared to early Apr-24. However, this figure still falls short of last year's 51% and the five-year average of 64.8%.

China

Potential Soybean Alternatives in China

China has developed a groundbreaking method for producing protein for animal feed using methanol, which could reduce the nation's reliance on imported soybeans. The process involves industrial fermentation using coal-derived methanol and an engineered yeast strain with increased methanol tolerance. The resulting protein-rich organisms can be a viable alternative to fishmeal, soybeans, meat, and skimmed milk powder in various applications. This development is significant considering China's high annual soybean imports of about 100 mmt, while only producing around 20% domestically.

United States

Soybean Production Expected to Reach 422.26 mmt in 2024/25

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)'s May report projects a notable 4.7% YoY rise in global oilseed production for the 2024/25 season, reaching 566.03 mmt. Global soybean production is expected to surge to 422.26 mmt for the 2024/25 season, marking a significant 6.3% YoY increase. This growth is primarily attributed to Brazil's robust performance, with an anticipated production of 169 mmt, which is 15 mmt higher than the 2023/24 season, representing a 9.7% YoY increase.

2.Weekly Pricing

Weekly Soybean Pricing Important Exporters (USD/kg)

* All pricing is wholesale, other than Argentina's FOB pricing* Varieties: Food-grade soybean

Yearly Change in Soybean Pricing Important Exporters (W20 2023 to W20 2024)

* All pricing is wholesale, other than Argentina's FOB pricing* Varieties: Food-grade soybean* Blank spaces on the graph signify data unavailability stemming from factors like supply unavailability, missing data, or seasonality

Brazil

The soybean market in Brazil saw an increase of 2.44% week-on-week (WoW), pricing at USD 0.42 per kilogram (kg) in W20, rising from USD 0.41/kg in W19. Similarly, based on a monthly comparison, prices also increased by 2.44%. This price increase can be attributed to severe rain and flooding in Brazil, which may have destroyed some unharvested soybeans. In addition, the strong soybean export in Apr-24 due to a higher exchange rate is expected to support further price increases.

United States

US soybean prices remain unchanged in W20, reaching USD 0.53/kg. However, based on a yearly comparison, the price dropped by 15.87% YoY. Due to low domestic demand, soybean crushing in the US has reached a seven-month low. In addition, the floods in Brazil also affected the soybean prices on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT).

Argentina

In W20, soybean prices in Argentina remained at USD 0.45/kg, and month-on-month (MoM) prices increased by 4.65%. Notably, the BCBA revised its 2024/25 soybean production estimate by cutting 500 thousand mt, bringing the total to 50.5 mmt due to floods in the Center-East of Entre Ríos. In addition, concerns about floods occurring in southern Brazil continue to impact the prices.

Uruguay

Uruguay's soybean prices remain unchanged at USD 0.41/kg. The official estimate for the Uruguayan soybean harvest this season is between 3.2 and 3.5 million mt. Uruguay is targeting a record soybean 2024 production, with projections indicating a 10% to 15% increase in output compared to the previous harvest, which covered 1.23 million ha.

3.Actionable Recommendations

Stay Engaged with Trade Policies

Stay informed about trade policies and geopolitical developments that may impact soybean markets, including tariffs, trade agreements, and diplomatic tensions. These factors can influence market sentiment and trade flows, affecting prices and profitability.

Enhanced Risk Assessment and Management

Given soybean production’s susceptibility to adverse weather conditions, stakeholders in Argentina and Brazil should prioritize risk assessment and management strategies. This involves investing in advanced meteorological forecasting technologies, satellite imaging, and remote sensing tools to monitor weather patterns and anticipate potential risks such as floods, droughts, and extreme temperatures. By proactively identifying and mitigating these risks, farmers can minimize crop losses, protect yields, and ensure food security.

Supply Chain Traceability and Transparency

Enhancing traceability and transparency in the soybean supply chain can help mitigate risks associated with environmental degradation, deforestation, and illegal land conversion. Implementing blockchain technology, satellite monitoring systems, and geospatial data analysis tools can enable the real-time tracking of soybean production, processing, and distribution processes. By promoting supply chain transparency, companies can demonstrate their commitment to sustainability, mitigate reputational risks, and meet the growing demand for ethically sourced soy products in global markets.

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