Brazil soybean planted area could grow 5% amid China-US showdown


"The soybean market is expected to grow. (By how much) will depend on the (U.S.) discussions with China," said Roberto Hun, the Brazil and Paraguay president for Corteva Agriscience, DowDuPont's agriculture unit. Soybeans fill a trailer at a farm in Buda, Illinois, US. - Reuters filepic

RIO DE JANEIRO: The area planted with soybeans in Brazil for the 2018/2019 season could grow 3 to 5 percent depending on how the world's top soy exporter fares in a U.S.-China trade dispute, an executive at Corteva Agriscience said on Monday.

Although prices on the main futures exchange in Chicago plummeted to near 10-year lows this month , the premiums paid for Brazilian soy are compensating for these declines, ensuring good profitability for producers and incentivising planting which begins in September.

"The soybean market is expected to grow. (By how much) will depend on the (U.S.) discussions with China," said Roberto Hun, the Brazil and Paraguay president for Corteva Agriscience, DowDuPont's agriculture unit.

If confirmed, Hun's prediction would mean up to 37 million hectares (91.4 million acres) planted in the 2018/2019 season, compared to a forecast 35.15 million for the 2017/2018 cycle.

China has slapped tariffs of 25 percent on U.S. goods, including soybeans, since July 6. Americans, alongside Brazilians, traditionally dominate shipments of soy to the largest global buyer.

Experts say Brazil, a leader in sales to China, could not meet China's demand alone. But the increase in expected area indicates that Brazilians are aiming at least to increase their market share.

Latin America accounts for 21 percent of Corteva's approximately $15 billion in annual sales, with Brazil accounting for most of the revenues in the region.

Hun also said that area planted with summer corn in Brazil, which competes with soybeans for space, is expected to fall in the next harvest, as soy's appeal has grown among producers.

On the other hand, the executive forecast a recovery in the winter maize crop, known as "safrinha".

On balance, Hun expects a slight rise in corn planting in 2018/19, with an increase in the "safrinha" more than compensating for the fall in summer corn.

The executive also reported no impact on sales from a May truckers' strike over rising diesel prices that paralysed Latin America's largest economy. - Reuters
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