Brazilian farmers have accessed a total of US$ 1.8 billion as part of a storage plan financing the construction of silos and warehouses in 2013-2014. Yesterday, as part of the Brazil Farm Bill, or Plano Safra as it is called here, the government announced a total of R$ 156.1 billion (US$ 70.4 billion) on credit lines available to farmers. Of those, nearly US$ 2.3 billion would be available to farmers and cereal traders to increase storage capacity. On the other hand, the average interest rate paid by farmers increased 1 percentage point to 6.5% a year.
How are less productive farmers able to survive? In northern provinces of Argentina, the answer is smuggling to Paraguay and, to a lesser extent, to Brazil. In Paraguay or Brazil, these soybeans are declared as locally produced.
Two of the most prominent Brazilian economists, José Roberto Mendonça de Barros and Luiz Carlos Mendonça de Barros, created in 1978 a consultancy called MB Associados to advise people interested in Brazil's macroeconomics. As the importance of agriculture grew rapidly in the 1990s and early 2000s, the two associates have decided to create an agricultural arm for the company in 2005 - MB Agro, which is based in São Paulo.
The market reacted positively after last week's USDA report, but there is even more news that could bring a bullish trend, at least for corn prices: There are conflicting reports on the size of the 2013-14 crop in Brazil. Nevertheless, Agroconsult, a Brazilian private analyst firm, has guaranteed this week that extensive rains in the center-west of the country combined with a drought in southern states will make this year's grain crop smaller than in 2012-13.
Banco do Brasil e Mapfre, a major joint venture of crop insurance in Brazil, revealed this week that the country has set a new record of crop insurance claims from December of last year. Since then, 2,000 claims were made generating payments totaling R$ 275 million (nearly U.S. $117 million) to approximately 5,000 farmers.
The main reason attributed to the record is the drought in grain planting areas of the southern part of the country. In 2012, a year that saw huge drought on soybean fields, 5,000 claims were made in the whole year.
Get a first-hand look at the infrastructure on which Brazilian farmers and merchants move grain to the marketplace.
Odacir Klein, a two-time Agriculture Secretary of the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul and former Agriculture minister of the country, is one of the most recognized leaders of corn growers in Brazil. He is the former president of the Brazilian Association of Corn Producers and coordinates the National Corn Summit, which is held annually at ExpoDireto, a farm show from Não Me Toque, Rio Grande do Sul, in March.
Argentine government officials recently announced major changes with regard to currency that may impact the grain market and mostly Argentinian farmers. The most relevant announcement was that the citizens were free to purchase foreign currency, such as the US Dollar. As a result, the Argentine Peso devalued and one dollar was buying AR$ 7.99 last Friday. In the aftermath, the government have limited the purchases of dollar up to US$ 2,000 per person each month.
Wheat prices have been steadily rising over the last few months. If realized, increased purchases from Brazil could provide more upside for U.S. wheat prices.