Soybean and Maize trucks entering Gran Rosario at least 22-year lows

Soybean and Maize trucks entering Gran Rosario at least 22-year lows

Soybean and Maize truck volumes are down 49% and 64% respectively from last year. Soybean imports at record levels. Corn trade dynamics continue, with more discretion in soybeans.

The severe drought that affected the 2022/23 season has so far left us with cuts of 49% and 37% in soybean and maize production respectively, according to data from the Guía Estratégica para el Agro (GEA – BCR).  With harvests already advanced, around 90% for soybean and more than 50% for corn, this drop in production is already being felt in grain logistics.

In the last three months the entry of trucks with corn and soybeans to Gran Rosario fell more than 55% compared to last year and was 62% below the average of the last five years. Knowing that in Argentina about 90% of grain logistics is carried out by truck and that Gran Rosario is responsible for 74% of the shipments of grains, oils and flours in the country, the data takes special preponderance.

The data are conclusive: the March-May quarter was the lowest volume of trucks entering the Upriver in at least 22 years. Although throughout May there was an upturn in the entry of trucks in the context of the Export Increase Programme, even last month the volume of soybeans entering Gran Rosario was 29% lower than in 2022.

It is noted that the decline is of weight in the two crops, but so far is felt more strongly in corn, which sees its income of trucks cut by 64%, above the fall of 49% in soybeans. A greater weight of late maize in this season explains this drop in the volume of trucks entering. As this crop is responsible for about three quarters of the national corn area, the bulk of this corn sown in December 2022 and January this year has yet to be harvested.

Soybean imports at record levels

From January to April 2023, more than 3.05 million tonnes of soybeans were imported, an all-time high for the first four months of the year.

In May, preliminary estimates of shipments show that more than 612,000 tonnes of soybeans entered the Upriver, with all of them coming from Brazil. However, it is very likely that imports will be higher when foreign trade data become available, as the volume of soybeans entering the Upriver on barges mainly from Paraguay must also be considered. For May, we are looking at a vessel schedule of close to 600,000 tonnes, again without considering the volume imported on barges and not forgetting that more vessels may still be scheduled.

Corn trade dynamics continue, with more discretion in soybeans

With the end of the Export Increase Programme for soybeans, a reduction in the volume traded in this crop was observed, and at the present time, the trade dynamics remain very discreet. However, measuring current trade as a percentage of the harvest, the volume of soybean purchases today is practically in line with the average of the last five years and above last season. In addition, there is also a level of purchases with prices to be fixed in line with previous years, measured in relative terms.

On the other hand, in view of the expectation of the progress of the late harvest of corn, the dynamics of the Physical Grain Market of the Rosario Stock Exchange is seen with more movement as regards the marketing of the cereal.

With marketing averaging more than 300,000 tonnes per week in the last month, 2022/23 maize is already at around 13 Mt traded. However, maize purchases continue to lag behind last year in both absolute and relative terms. Today, about 34% of this season’s maize supply is sold, more than 12 points behind last season’s 46%, when cumulative maize purchases totalled 24.5 Mt.

In this framework, there would still be 18.8 Mt of maize available to be traded for both domestic and export markets. And if we add the commercialization with a price to be fixed, 23.6 Mt of the cereal would still have to be priced.


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