Brazil exported an incredible 7.18 million metric tonnes of soybeans in the first three weeks of March – more than double last month’s figure.
Much of it went to China which, despite signing a trade deal with the United States in January that gave it access to American soybeans, has stuck to its Brazilian suppliers.
The upturn in exports meant that 479,200 metric tonnes of soybeans left Brazilian ports every day during March – compared to 445,200 metric tonnes per day in the same month last year.
And, given forecasts of an all-time high soybean harvest in the 2019-20 year – calculated from last September to this August – traders in Brazil are bullish despite the global slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Brazilian national agro agency Conab estimates that growers will harvest 124.2 million metric tonnes in the 2019-20 season, an increase of eight per cent.
February to May is seen as the peak season for the Brazilian soybean harvest, giving them a huge advantage over the United States where bean planting doesn’t begin until April.
Brazil has, in recent years, exported around 80 per cent of its beans to China each year.
However, experts in the States suggest that China will have to switch its imports to American beans later in the year in order to meet a pledge in its US trade deal to purchase $80 billion of agro products within two years.
Currently, only five per cent, four per cent and two per cent respectively of Chinese imports from America are made up of pork, beef and poultry, while half of US agricultural exports to Beijing are of soybeans.
The coronavirus pandemic could also adversely affect sales, Conab has warned. Covid-19 is already causing issues at the primary ports of Santos and Paranagua.