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February 8, 2021

Brazil's 2021 Soybean Exports Will Start Slow

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

With tight supplies and high demand, the market is monitoring very closely the Brazilian soybean harvest and the start of Brazilian soybean exports. The combination of late planting and now wet weather is resulting in a very slow start to the 2021 Brazilian soybean exports.

The 2020/21 Brazilian soybeans were less than 5% harvested late last week compared to 15.7% last year. The late planting and current wet weather has led to one of the slowest starts to the Brazilian soybean harvest in ten years.

The slow pace of soybean harvesting will also translate to a slow start to Brazil's soybean exports. Brazil only exported 49,500 tons of soybeans in January compared to 1.4 million tons last January according to data from the Foreign Trade Secretariat (Secex). Even though there are at least 11 million tons in the vessel lineup for Brazilian soybeans, exports will be slow during the first half of February, only picking up during the second half of the month. The vast majority of those 11 million tons in the lineup are destined for China.

During February of 2020 when the soybean harvest was further along than it is this year and the weather was more cooperative, Brazil exported 4.8 million tons of soybeans. With less than 5% of the soybeans harvested as of late last week and a forecast calling for more rain, Brazil is certain to export fewer soybeans this February compared to last February. Brazil would probably be lucky if it exported 3-4 million tons of soybeans this February.

The initial export pace could also be impacted by wet weather at Brazil's two biggest ports of Santos and Paranagua. The loading of grain at those ports is suspended during periods of rainfall because they need to close the holds of the vessels. At the Port of Paranagua for example, loading activity was suspended for 12.5 days during January due to wet weather.

An additional factor to consider is the fact that the first available soybeans over the next few weeks could go to processors who are willing to pay a premium for the first soybean in order to get their operations up and running.