UPDATE 2-Brazil soybean planting delay to affect supply in January -AgRural

(Adds how situation helps U.S. competitors, may also affect other crops)

By Roberto Samora

Oct 5 (Reuters) - Rainfall scarcity expected in the coming days should further delay Brazil's soybean planting, affecting supply of the country's most prized agricultural export commodity in January, consulting firm AgRural said on Monday.

This bodes well for U.S. soybean farmers, who compete directly with Brazil in exports and may continue to sell to top importer China throughout January, when a good portion of Brazil's crop is normally ready to be shipped.

Through Oct. 1, Brazil producer planted only 1.6% of the estimated soybean area, below a five-year average of 4.5% for the country at this time of the season, according to AgRural data.

At the end of January, Brazil's biggest farm state Mato Grosso had already harvested 9 million tonnes of the oilseeds, or 25% of the state's total crop.

"It is hard to imagine that even one-third of that will be harvested in January given the current scenario," said Fernando Muraro, AgRural analyst. "All of the action will take place in February."

As soy supplies will not be available in January, port premiums relative to February 2021 shipping shot up by 25%, reflecting strong demand for freight in the second month of the year instead of the first.

February 2021 port premiums reached a peak of $1 per bushel using Chicago futures contract as a reference, Muraro noted.

Delays in soy plating also pose risks to cotton farmers who grow it after the soybean harvest, said Marco Antonio Santos, from the Rural Clima weather forecast firm. If dry weather persists, farmers may opt to plant corn instead of cotton after soy is harvested, he said.

"For those who plant cotton (after soy), the rain should have come at least 10 days ago," Santos said. (Reporting by Roberto Samora and additional reporting by Nayara Figueiredo Writing by Ana Mano Editing by Jason Neely, Bernadette Baum and Richard Chang)

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