June 28, 2011


Vietnamese soy imports to more than double in 2012



Vietnam's soy imports next year, mainly from South America, are forecast to more than double to 1.5 million tonnes thanks to large demand from the country's two crushing plants, which both opened this year, traders said on Monday (Jun 27).


Soy imports this year are expected to hit 700,000 tonnes following the operation of the plants, one capable of crushing more than 3,000 tonnes daily, operated by agricultural processor Bunge, and another using around 1,000 tonnes a day, traders said.


Bunge has begun production at its US$100 million soy crushing plant in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, which would help reduce risk and costs for local feed importers, the company and traders said.


Vietnamese private firm Quang Minh Corp said it opened the other plant on May 28 in the northern province of Hung Yen. Its oil product would be used for the domestic market and for export to Singapore, India, Laos, and Thailand.


The import forecasts for next year are already higher than a projection of one million tonnes in 2012 by a US industry official in March.


Bunge said it would crush one million tonnes of soy a year. Traders said the company often imports soy from Brazil, Argentina, and the US.


"While the import of soy will be on the rise, soymeal imports will drop thanks to domestic production," a trader in Ho Chi Minh City said.


Vietnam is estimated to import around 2.5 million tonnes of soymeal this year, within its normal range of annual purchases from abroad in recent years, traders said.


It bought 600,000 tonnes of soymeal from India last year. The country's soymeal import season from South America, such as Brazil and Argentina, often lasts between April and October, while the Indian origin takes up the remaining November-March period.


Domestic soy production is small, compared with the country's demand. Last year output jumped 38% from 2009 to 270,000 tonnes as the total planting area expanded 34.6 % to 198,000 hectares (490,000 acres), government statistics showed.

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