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Soybeans becomes Uruguay’s main export item, estimated at 1.1bn in 2012

Monday, May 7th 2012 - 04:59 UTC
Full article 5 comments
Over a million hectares are forecasted to be planted with soybeans for the next season Over a million hectares are forecasted to be planted with soybeans for the next season

Soybeans are set to establish several records this year in Uruguay: exports will be above one billion dollars; for the first time the oilseed will be the leading export item of the country displacing beef and prospects for the next season are that over a million hectares will be planted.

Lately historically high prices and a strong international financial speculation have moved actively into the soybeans market. Only back in 2008 were prices so strong and the market so bullish.

In Uruguay 30% of the crop has been harvested with yields higher than expected (above 2.000 kilos per hectare) leaving behind fears about the effects of an early drought which was compensated with late rains.

“Behind these very historically high prices there is a strong financial speculation, but for soy farmers it’s an excellent opportunity to capitalize and prepare for the next harvest with a good take off”, said Gonzalo Gutierrez, head of the Agro-business Department from the Agriculture School in Uruguay.

However such optimism is not extensive to wheat or corn farmers in Uruguay, since prices are not as tempting as with soybeans and the market outlook is not so promising.

“There are ample reserves, much wheat remains unsold and market price prospects are not encouraging as for example a year ago, when prices were significantly higher” said Gutierrez who added that the US is expected to harvest a record crop of corn, “if the weather behaves”. The US is the world’s leading producer of corn.

Furthermore profit margins for wheat and corn are not comparable to those of soybeans, and this is particularly adverse for those farmers who rent land, added Gutierrez.

Regarding soy prices Gutierrez said that supply has been eroded by weather conditions in Brazil and Argentina. In Brazil 80% has been harvested but in Argentina, 50%, with yields below expectations.

On the demand side China keeps buying in spite of the high prices, but “there is another element equally important according to Gutierrez: “speculation from investment fund which are buying strongly into beans and flour”.

Last week soybeans in Nueva Palmira, Uruguay’s main grains’ export harbour were trading at between 545 and 550 dollars the ton for this year’s crop with a floor of 460 dollars for the 2013 harvest.

Top Comments

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  • LEPRecon

    Good on you Uruguay, may your country continue to prosper.

    Oh, I just thought of something, the Spanish have a gap in their market right now than you can fill, and push those profitts up even further.

    Apparently the Spanish were badly let down by a former customer of theirs, who turned out to be liars and thieves. What was there name again?

    Oh yes, that's right Argentina.

    May 07th, 2012 - 11:59 am 0
  • Guzz

    We heard about that, but we have no oil for the spaniards to steal, so they're not interested... It's ok though, we're selling meat to China!!! Imagine that, Uruguay selling meat to China :) :) :)

    May 07th, 2012 - 09:04 pm 0
  • Anti-Fascist

    Argentina is a product of colonialism, conquered by the sword, most of the natives killed and infected by disease, their land taken from them and worked by imported African slaves, oversean by imported European colonials. The African's who made up 50% of the population would themselves completely disapear from Argentina between 1850-1900 in what could have been a chilling fore runner to the disareances of the Dirty War in the 1970's when an estimated 30,000 Argentines were raped, tortured and murdered, many more were held illegally in detention camps and tortured. The true figure for the dead could be as high as 100,000, no one knows because there is little official documentation and most bodies were dumped in the sea.

    Argentina took land from its neighbours in numberous wars , civil wars and land grabs - Paraguay, Uraguay, Chile. Today Argentina despite the changed political landscape is still a nation characterised by uber nationalism. The claim to the Falklands was surendered in 1850 but reserected in 1941 by a fascist junta, which inc Peron, they thought their friends the Nazi were going to win the war, the Falklands looked easy picking.

    In 1982 Argentina was under the latest succession of a series of fascism military junta's. Their hold on power was looking precarious, in deperation they sort a war, Chile looked like a good victim, they already claimed lots of land and were ignoring the international tribunals that had ruled in Chile's favor. But then they changed their mind and invaded the Falklands. Today the war is romanticized by a nation ruled by a kind of cross between a Neo-Nazi uber nationalist and a Charvesta Revolutionary uber Marxist. The only thing missing is the land reform. Maybe that's for later? But as few natives remain, maybe they'll just ignore their rights... God knows they always have. An entire culture replaced by a European one. Entire languages destroyed.

    Timmerman should take time to read about his country's history.

    May 08th, 2012 - 02:42 am 0
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