September 3, 2011


Indian soymeal exports to rise by at least 200,000 tonnes



India's soymeal exports are expected to surge by at least 200,000 tonnes in the marketing year beginning October 1, on robust global demand and a good local soy harvest, according to industry experts.


The country is expected to ship at least five million tonne of soymeal in 2011-12, compared with around 4.8 million tonne in 2010-11, said Rajesh Agrawal, co-ordinator of the Soyabean Processors Association of India. "Our prices are globally competitive and demand also looks strong. I expect soyabean crushing to go on well in 2011-12 as carryover stocks will be less than the 2010-11 level," he said.


Soy planting has climbed by 11% this summer from a year before on widespread monsoon showers, boosting hopes that the country will harvest a bumper crop in 2011-12, industry executives said.


Soy is crushed into soymeal for animal feed and into soyoil for cooking and alternative fuel. Soymeal is added to poultry feed as a form of protein to boost the birds' growth. The country typically exports around 70% of its annual production.


India competes with Brazil and Argentina for soymeal exports to countries including Japan, Vietnam, South Korea and China. However, suppliers in India have an edge over their South American rivals in terms of freight differential due to the country's proximity with key buying nations, the executives said.


The country's soymeal exports bounced back in 2010-11 after a slump in the previous year due to less crushing of soy after a fall in its prices. Shipments of the commodity nearly doubled to 3.73 million tonne between October 2010 and July 2011 as global prices picked up due to strong demand, improving sales realisation, according to the SOPA data. The data don't include shipments to other Saarc nations.


Soy output is expected to be higher this year despite recent heavy rains in the key producing region of central India and sporadic incidents of pest attack on the crop, Agrawal said. Although 10-15% of the crop in some of these regions has been affected, the overall crop size still looks good. Heavy showers lashed north-western as well as central regions in August to bridge the deficit until July, beating a government forecast of below-normal rains during the season that runs from June through September.


"You can't expect 100% good monsoon rains over all the regions. Each year, some areas will be affected, and this is quite normal," said Agrawal. The country harvested around 12.65 million tonne of soy in the last crop year through June, according to the government estimate.


Soymeal prices are ruling around US$395-$398 per tonne freight-on-board, which is globally competitive, he said, adding that good prices would lead to higher soy crushing by the domestic industry.


Traders are also looking to tap the growing demand from China by scaling up sales of oilmeals, mainly soymeal, to that country from the current level of 536,604 tonne, another industry executive said.

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