NOPA January U.S. soy crush seen at 183.087 million bushels -survey

By Karl Plume

CHICAGO, Feb 11 (Reuters) - U.S. soybean processing plants likely turned in their third-largest monthly crush on record on January and the largest-ever crush for the first month of the year, according to analysts polled ahead of a National Oilseed Processors Association (NOPA) report due on Tuesday.

NOPA members, which handle about 95% of all soybeans processed in the United States, were estimated to have crushed 183.087 million bushels of soybeans last month, according to the average of estimates from nine analysts.

If the average estimate is realized, it would be little changed from a 183.159 million-bushel crush in December and up 3.5% from January 2020, when NOPA members processed 176.940 million bushels.

Soaring soybean prices during and after the 2020 harvest sparked active farmer sales of beans to processing plants, providing them ample crushing supplies.

Daily crushing rates have been at historic highs over the past four months, averaging around 6 million bushels a day, analysts said.

U.S. soybean supplies, however, are forecast to shrink dramatically ahead of the next harvest. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is projecting the tightest end-of-season stocks in seven years and the tightest stocks-to-use ratio on record.

January crush estimates ranged from 180.000 million to 186.300 million bushels, with a median estimate of 184.000 million bushels.

The monthly NOPA report is scheduled for release at 11 a.m. CST (1700 GMT) on Tuesday. The organization releases crush data on the 15th of each month, or the next business day.

Soyoil supplies among NOPA members at the end of January were seen rising to 1.763 billion pounds, based on the average of estimates from six analysts, compared with 1.699 billion pounds at the end of December and 2.013 billion pounds at the end of January 2020.

Estimates ranged from 1.710 billion to 1.850 billion pounds, with a median of 1.752 billion. (Reporting by Karl Plume in Chicago; editing by Grant McCool)

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