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.
For outsiders, it may be hard to understand, but Argentinian farmers have kept stored 16 million tons of soybeans, or an estimated value of US$ 7.4 billion. When those beans are shipped, it would impact the market significantly. However, there is no clue as to when the market would be inclined to do that.
Nelson Paludo, a farmer from Toledo, in the west of Paraná, revealed in an interview to Agriculture.com that corn is not on his plans for the current crop season. In fact, he and most producers of his region, intend to reduce corn production in the second crop crop, or safrinha, which comes after soybeans are harvested.
With Brazilian exports of corn and soybeans expected to continue their strong performance in 2014, last year’s problematic port logistics are reccurring.
Recent data released by Brazil’s Ministry of Development, Industry, and Foreign Trade shows that the South American country exported 3.8 million tons of soybeans in September and 3.44 million tons of corn – both are records for the period. From January to September, soybean exports reached 40.7 million tons, already overtaking the output of 2013 in just nine months.
Luís Fernando Cirne Lima took office as a minister of Agriculture of Brazil in 1969 during military rule. At the time, Brazil was not within the 20 largest economies in the world and coffee accounted for nearly half of the total exports of the country. The South American country also did not produce over a million tons of soybeans. As of today, Brazil is the top producer of soybeans in the world, a major player of corn production, and the seventh largest GDP.
U.S. farmers looking for a fundamental factor to turn the corn market around may find one in South America.
On Monday, the corn market hit a three-year low. With the U.S. harvest ramping up, the corn market remains under heavy price pressure.
Though it may be a longer term price supporter, Argentina's corn output is expected to drop in 2013-14.
Due to delayed plantings in February, the harvest of Brazil's second corn crop (safrinha) is slow to finish, according to Brazil's National Supply Company (Conab).
The rains of February have impeded early works. Currently, the country has reached over 95% of the safrinha harvest.
The last Conab report estimated 46.1 million tons for the second corn crop, which is a new record. In the previous season, Brazil had harvested 39.1 million tons of its winter crop.
Consumption is likely to increase in Brazil in 2013 in almost every sector. The food sector is not an exception, but one of the main beneficiaries of the expansion. The U.S. could potentially benefit from that increased consumption by exporting an increased amount of wheat to South America's most populated country. Yearly, Brazil imports approximately 7.5 million tons of wheat, and imports have more than doubled in three years.
The scenario that could potentially boost imports from the U.S., however, is not consumption expansion in Brazil, but trade policies from Argentina.