Argentina's soybean crop received its third upgrade in two
days, as the Buenos Aires grains exchange upped its estimate, citing record
yields – although opinions differed somewhat on corn crop potential.
The Buenos Aires grains exchange, which had previously
signalled the potential for uplifting its forecast for Argentina's soybean production
in 2016-17, raised the estimate by 1.0m tonnes to 57.5m tonnes.
With the harvest estimate at two-thirds completed, the exchange
cited record yield results in provinces such as Entre Rios, which promoted a
forecast of a national yield of 3.19 tonnes per hectare – narrowly ahead of the
record 3.17 tonnes per hectares set two years ago.
The exchange said its forecast took into account the loss of
1.15m hectares of crop to heavy rains, inundations which had prompted some
observers to talk of a sub-50m tonne harvest.
The upgrade came hours after the Rosario grains exchange
raised its estimate for the harvest by 1m tonnes to 57m tonnes.
While acknowledging weaker yields in parts of Santa Fe and Buenos
Aires provinces, "the results that are being obtained in the western side of
the country and in the provinces of Chaco and Santiago del Estero dominate the
national figures", the Rosario exchange said.
It had been "very important and opportune" that rains had moderated in the second half of April and into this month.
The exchange nudged higher its forecast for the Argentine
soybean yield by nearly 0.1 tonnes per hectare to 3.17 tonnes per hectare.
'Downtrend in price continues'
Meanwhile, the US Department of Agriculture on Wednesday
lifted its forecast for the harvest by 1.0m tonnes to 57.0m tonnes.
While failing to expand on the thinking behind the upgrade,
the USDA said that "soybean supplies in Argentina will be more than adequate to
meet processor demand, though some uncertainty exists regarding producer
willingness to sell in light of the progressive reduction in export taxes expected
to begin in 2018.
The USDA also flagged the impact of larger harvest
expectations in depressing prices, pegging upriver valyes at $351 a tonne, down $22 a tonne month on month.
"The downtrend in price continues as growing supplies in
South America and expectations of a sizable crop in the US pressure the market,"
the department said.
The USDA also lifted its estimate for the 2016-17 Argentine
corn harvest, by 1.5m tonnes to a record 40.0m tonnes, again flagging a pricing
Over the past month, Argentine corn prices had "experienced
unusual volatility ending at $161 a tonne, dropping $4 a tonne on prospects for
The Buenos Aires grains exchange raised its corn harvest
estimate too, by 2.0m tonnes to 39.0m tonnes, citing in part a 200,000-hectare
upgrade to its forecast for seedings in the late, December-January window.
(Many Argentine farmers avoid sowings in November, for fear
of crop reaching the heat-sensitive pollination period at a time of hot
The exchange also flagged "very good" results from the early
harvest, which is now 31.8% complete.
Heat stress and
However, the Rosario exchange stuck with its estimate for
Argentine corn production in 2016-17 of 38.0m tonnes.
Yields had proved "lower than expected" in central areas, with
results from Santa Fe and Entre Rios not living up to buoyant expectations.
"Heat stress in December, and the leaching of nutrients
among other problems caused by excessive rains, placed a ceiling on the grain's
yield potential," the exchange said.