Brazil, the world’s number one soybean producer, is experiencing delays in its early soybean harvest. Yahoo Finance says that’s causing some of the biggest buyers like China to rely on rival exporters like the U.S. for a longer period than usual in early 2021. Continuing demand for American soybeans is speeding up the historic lowering of U.S. oilseeds.
In turn, that may drive up soybean prices at a time of rising food inflation as countries keep tighter control of their supplies because of COVID-19. Brazil typically will harvest its soybeans in the first three months of the year, which slows demand for U.S. soybeans. However, that process was delayed by a drought last year that slowed planting progress and excessive rainfall at harvest.
Brazil’s soybean shipments in January were 38 times lower than the year before at 49,500 tons, an amount that wouldn’t fill a single shipping vessel. At the same time, the U.S. inspected approximately 8.9 million tons for shipment in the same month, the highest number on record for January. Brazil’s supplies will likely normalize by March, but that could mean trouble at Brazilian ports. March and April soybeans may wind up competing with sugar exports for a finite amount of loading capacity.