Soybean market in 'rationing mode' amid dry Argentina weather, Cargill exec says

By Karl Plume

Jan 6 (Reuters) - The soybean market has transitioned into "rationing mode" as tight global supplies and crop-stressing drought in Argentina have ignited the strongest soy market rally in years, Joe Stone, the head of Cargill Inc's agricultural supply chain, said on Wednesday.

"We are going to need to ration. The extent of how much we're going to need to ration is probably going to be a function of the weather that we see in Argentina," Stone said during a webinar hosted by the U.S. Soybean Export Council.

He did not provide any details about how that rationing would occur.

Global grain and oilseed prices have soared as China and other global buyers accelerated purchases due to food security concerns and shrinking supplies amid adverse weather in South America and other crop-producing areas around the world.

Argentina last month suspended corn export sales until March to conserve domestic supplies, and Russia imposed duties on wheat and soybean exports amid concerns about rising domestic food prices.

Top soy importer China has booked record soy purchases this season. Record shipments from Brazil have also prompted the top soy exporter to import beans from the United States.

The shift from a global crop surplus over the past several years to the tightest supplies in at least seven years have sent benchmark U.S. soybean futures prices on the Chicago Board of Trade to 6-1/2-year highs. (Reporting by Karl Plume in Chicago Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis)

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