April 30, 2009

Swine flu unlikely to affect India soymeal, corn exports

India's soymeal and corn exports are unlikely to be affected by the swine flu outbreak in the near term as the country sells mostly to South East Asian nations who have not been affected by the disease, industry officials said Wednesday (April 29).

"We export around 150,000 tonnes of soymeal to South East Asian countries and Japan every month. We will have no problem selling this unless the situation takes a severe turn," said Rajesh Agrawal, spokesperson and past president of the Soy Processors Association of India.

The next three months are a lean period for shipments anyway, as the country's soy stocks are nearly sold out and the new crop will arrive only in October.

"We will export around 400,000-450,000 tonnes during April-June as we have limited quantity for exports," Agrawal said.

However, Veeresh Hiremath of Karvy Comtrade said that if swine flu continues to spread over the next month, prices of soymeal would come under pressure and decline by US$40-US$50/tonne to around the US$380/tonne level.

Corn exports are also unlikely to be impacted much by the flu outbreak, said Amit Sachdev, India representative of the US Grains Council.

He said demand would be sustained, especially from Bangladesh, South East Asia, and the Middle East where there has been no impact from the swine flu.

"So far, we have exported 400,000 tonnes of corn. We expect to export 800,000 tonnes this year (ending September)," Sachdev said.

Soymeal and corn are mostly used as feedmeal for livestock.

The outbreak of swine flu is suspected to have led to the deaths of more than 150 people in Mexico and has spread around the world.