May 6, 2013

Brazil Soy Exports Could be slowed by Wet Weather in May-June

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

Dryer weather during the month of April at the two main ports in southern Brazil, Paranagua and Santos, allowed for a near record level of soybean exports during the month. Soybean exports from Brazilian ports in April totaled 7.15 million tons, which was nearly double the soybean exports during March and just short of the monthly record set in May of 2012.

At the Port of Paranagua, loading operations were suspended due to wet weather for 310 hours during March (13 days), while during the month of April; wet weather caused loading operations to be suspended for only 90 hours (3.75 days).

Going forward, forecasters are calling for a return of more wet weather in southern Brazil. According to Somar Meterologia, there should be five days of rainy weather during the next two weeks. The rainfall won't be heavy or continuous, but there could be enough precipitation to impact loading operations. They are also forecasting a wetter than normal fall and winter season in southern Brazil as well. They are expecting 12 days of rainfall during the month of May and 14 days of rainfall during the month of June.

Their forecast is based on their belief that a series of cold fronts will pass through southern Brazil every 10-12 days bringing with them periods of wet weather. The fronts won't result in continuous rainfall, but there will be enough precipitation to cause loading disruptions. If this forecast verifies, soybean exports during May and June could end up being less than what they were during April.

In addition to soybean exports, sugar is also an export staple from these two southern ports. Wet weather can also slow sugar exports, but sugar is more of a year round export compared to soybeans which are exported during a smaller window. Additionally, much of the sugar is exported through private terminals where there is more storage capacity than there is for soybeans at the public terminals. As a result, any declines in sugar exports caused by wet weather can quickly be made up when dryer weather returns.

The pace of the sugarcane harvest in southern Brazil is now quickening and an increase in sugar exports should follow. According to Exterior Commerce Secretary (Secex), sugar exports during April were 1.7 million tons compared to 1.9 million tons in March.