April 5, 2013

Early 2013 Soybean Exports from Mato Grosso Slower than in 2012

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

The movement of soybeans out of Mato Grosso thus far this year has been much slower than in past years. According to the Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea), only 2% of the 2012/13 soybean production in the state was exported during the months of January and February, which was 55% less than the first two months of 2012.

The slower export pace is blamed on a number of factors including: heavy rains that delayed the soybean harvest, congestion at the Ferronorte Rail Terminal at Alto Araguaia in southeastern Mato Grosso, higher freight cost due to a lack of trucks which forced trucking companies to unload their soybeans at rail terminals in the state instead of the Port of Santos, labor unrest at the Port of Santos, wet weather at the port, and delays in unloading trucks at the port. Port officials from Santos reported that their export volume during January and February was up 15% year-on-year, but that was due to increased exports of corn and sugar and not soybeans.

Problems at the Port of Santos are critical for producers in the state because 60% of the soybeans and corn exported from the state are exported out of Brazil through the Port of Santos. The Ferronorte Railroad, which is the only railroad in the state, terminates at the Port of Santos and the capacity of that railroad is being tested by the record large soybean crop in the state.

The pace of soybean exports from Mato Grosso is expected to improve during the primary export months of March, April, May, and June. Over the last four years, these four months accounted for 15.9%, 15.4%, 16.8%, and 10.3% respectively of the total soybean exports from Mato Grosso. Generally, 67% of the soybeans are exported during the first half of the year with the remainder during the second half when soybean exports must compete with corn and cotton exports.

In their latest weekly bulletin, Imea indicated that farmers in Mato Grosso have sold 76% of their 2012/13 soybean production.