When soybeans reached their lowest value in Chicago since February (US$ 13.63 a bushel last week), it may have turned the red light on for some farmers. That is not the case, however, for the majority of growers down in Brazil.
Argentina has sold approximately US$ 10.1 billion in grains so far this year, according to data from the Center of Cereal Exporters of the country. But the country's farmers are still sitting on nearly twice that amount, with no intentions of selling anytime soon.
In stocks, there is an approximate value of US$ 19 billion in soybeans, and the sales of that amount are not seen on the horizon.
Though tight U.S. old-crop stocks still have the attention of the market, favorable new-crop growing weather and the U.S. soybean export infrastructure are expected to slow imports this summer.
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.