With stockpiles of oilseed at their lowest in decades, Brazil's Bunge SA is processing soybeans from Paraguay, and now also from Uruguay, which also plants over a million hectares of the oilseed.
Bunge’s Brazilian unit took the unusual step of buying three cargoes of 30,000 metric tons each from Uruguay in the past few weeks, according to market operators. The crop used for everything from cooking oil to animal feed and fuel will be processed at the firm’s Rio Grande plant, it was reported.
Brazil is the world’s biggest producer of soybeans, but its processing industry has accelerated imports in the past few months after strong exports eroded stockpiles. Imports through August quadrupled from the same period last year to 477,372 tons, Economy Ministry data show.
Almost all of that came from Paraguay. But Uruguay, whose production represents less than 2% of Brazil’s crop, is also appearing among the suppliers.
“That reflects Brazil’s low supplies and high local prices as farmers hold the few beans left,” said Luiz Fernando Roque, an analyst at Safras & Mercado consulting firm.