After a disappointing February, Brazil soybean exports exploded in March reaching a record 13.5 million tons, 25 percent above the March 2020 record of 10.9 million tons. A late harvest resulted from a delayed start to plantings because of the timing of the rainy season in many growing regions.
Heavy rains late in the growing season also complicated and slowed harvest, leading to the lowest February exports in 3 years. March arrived with large ship line-ups, awaiting the delayed harvest and priming the pump for the record March volume.
Despite the slow start, exports for the first 2 months of the local marketing year (February – January) are currently 700,000 tons ahead of last year’s record volume. With an extensive lineup remaining, the potential for record shipments in April, exceeding last year’s 14.9 million tons, is a possibility.
The current forecast for 86.0 million tons shipped in the October 2020 to September 2021 period requires exports for February to September to reach a record 81.8 million tons, 4.4 million ahead of 2020.
U.S. producers will likely face competition similar to 2020’s from Brazil in the coming October to January period. The current forecast assumes 4.8 million tons will be exported for the period compared to 4.2 million tons shipped last year. This compares to the average 13.1 million shipped in the 3 years prior to 2020/21.
With projected U.S. soybean plantings below both initial USDA projections and market expectations, prospects for a tight global soybean market in late 2021 have grown.