The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that the US shipped 889.7 thousand tons of soybean in W5, while traders' projections ranged from 500 thousand to 1.3 million tons. Every commercial year, US soybean shipments totaled 27.6 million tons, a 24% year-on-year (YoY) decrease.
Brazil's soybean harvest for the 2023/24 season was estimated at 148.55 million tons, down from 152.88 million tons in the 2022/23 season. The decrease is due to climatic irregularities, with an 8.9% decrease in yield per hectare (ha) to 3.2 thousand kilograms (kg) per ha. The total harvest is 7.3% lower than the previous cycle's record of 160.234 million tons. Brazil is also experiencing its 17th consecutive year of increasing soybean cultivation area, with the current cycle's planting area growing by 1.7% from 44.684 million ha in the 2022/23 season.
The National Waterway Transport Agency (ANTAQ) revealed the top five Brazilian ports utilized for soybean exports in 2023, during which the country shipped 102 million tons of the oilseed. The leading ports for exporting soybeans were as follows: Santos, shipping 23.6 million tons; Paranaguá, with 12.2 million tons; Itaqui, totaling 12.1 million tons; São Francisco do Sul, contributing 4.8 million tons; and Rio Grande, handling 3.8 million tons. Notably, foreign exchange revenue from the soybean complex exports amounted to USD 67 billion in 2023, marking an 11% YoY increase, as the Ministry of Development, Industry, Commerce, and Services reported.
According to the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange, Argentina has completed soybean planting, covering 17.3 million ha and producing 52.5 million tons. However, crop conditions have been impacted by lack of precipitation, with only 36% in good or excellent condition. However, traders are expressing growing concerns as dry weather in Argentina potentially threatens soybean production. In Brazil, there has been a shift in rainfall distribution, with less precipitation in the southern regions and more in the north of Mato Grosso. Although W5 marked the coldest and fifth driest in 30 years in Rio Grande do Sul, crops remained unaffected due to lower temperatures and ample precipitation this season. Nevertheless, additional rainfall is crucial in central and northern Brazil, as it may lead to delays in soybean harvesting and the planting of second-crop corn. Weather forecasts indicate ongoing rains in these regions throughout Feb-24, while the southern areas are expected to experience drier conditions.
The soybean harvest in Alto Paraná, Paraguay, is thriving, with yields exceeding expectations and covering 60% of the harvested area. Despite favorable weather conditions, concerns over safriña crops are rising. Despite a dip in soybean prices, farmers remain optimistic about production volumes. High production costs and low profitability margins pose challenges.
The Danube Soybean Association predicts that soybean cultivation in Ukraine could reach 2 million ha, with the highest acreage in five years in 2023. The average yield of soybeans in 2023 was 2.65 tons/ha, resulting in a harvest of 4.82 million tons. However, the anticipated increase in soybean acreage may raise concerns about a potential drop in soybean prices due to increased production. Accurately predicting this scenario is challenging due to uncertain weather conditions and production volume in primary soybean-producing countries. Diversifying risks and incorporating pulses in crop rotations are essential to avoid overly favoring crops.
Soybean purchasing prices in Ukraine have been forecasted to decline since the beginning of Jan-24, a trend that has intensified compared to 2023 and is attributed to decreasing prices and export activity. In W5, growers purchase soybeans for USD 452.92 to 466.24/ton (UAH 17,000 to 17,500/ton) CPT, dropping from earlier prices. GM soybeans' current price ranges from USD 431.60 to 487.55/ton (UAH 16,200 to 18,300/ton) CPT. This price reduction has sparked heightened interest from processing companies in acquiring soybeans and bolstering short-term oil stocks.