Brazilian soybean exports slowed down slightly in the first half of June but are set to end the month near record levels for the third time straight, official data showed.
Brazil, the world’s largest soybean exporter, inspected an average of 441,800 mt of the grain per workday until last Friday, compared to a daily average of 498,200 mt in May, according to the Secretariat of Foreign Trade (SECEX).
So far, June shipments totalled 4.86 million mt, compared to the record volume of 10.96 million mt seen in the entire May.
Following the current pace, soybean exports may get near the 10 million mt threshold in June, for the third consecutive month. That level of monthly shipments was seen once in 2015 and twice in 2016.
“In June, we will probably be near the volumes exported in May, and shipments will remain firm throughout the year”, said Fernando Muraro, head of consultancy firm AgRural.
Current exports have been boosted by a record crop of 113.9 million mt of soybeans this season, up 19% from the previous year.
Market sources also said that port capacity added to the country’s infrastructure in recent years have been allowing exports to flow smoothly, in a positive contrast to long queues of ships and trucks seen at congested terminals earlier this decade.
AgRural projects 61-62 million mt of soybean in exports in 2017, up from 51.6 million mt in 2016. The estimate could be raised to 63 million mt depending on shipment performance later this year. Up until now, 39.7 million mt have already left the country, according to Secex data.
Meanwhile, corn exports are still sluggish, at 13,000 mt per workday, down from 14,100 mt in May. Corn supply available for exports will increase in the coming weeks, as farmers accelerate the harvest of the winter crop, which usually fuels the country’s sales on the international market.
According to Muraro, corn and soybeans will start to compete for port capacity in July.
Brazil corn exports may hit 33 million mt in the current marketing year (February 2017 to January 2018), up 129% from the previous season, underpinned by a record harvest, according to analyst Agroconsult estimates.