October 29, 2008

Argentine soy crush declines on price rejection by farmers


According to the Agriculture Secretariat, Argentine soy crushing activity fell 10 percent in September as farmers kept hold of their soy in hope of an upturn in global prices.


Argentina is the world's top exporter of soyoil and soymeal and the third-biggest exporter of unprocessed soy, but farmers have been selling smaller quantities of the oilseed in recent weeks due to a slump in prices.


US soy futures have fallen about 45 percent from record highs in July but production costs remain high. Argentine farmers are calling for a cut in soy export taxes to reflect the lower prices.


Grain companies in the country crushed 3.22 million tonnes in September, down from the 3.58 million tonnes processed in the same month of 2007, the secretariat said.


Alberto Rodriguez, president of the vegetable oil exporters' group CIARA, said crushers were concerned that the country's crushing capacity was not being fully used.


Argentina's soy crushing totaled 24 million tonnes in the first nine months of the year, and September's production was 617,340 tonnes of soyoil and 2.5 million tonnes of soymeal pellets, the secretariat said.


Argentina's 2007/08 soy harvest was 46.2 million tonnes and in August, soy crushing activity rose just 0.5 percent compared with the same month last year.


Earlier this year, crushing activity fell due to a strike by farmers that forced many soy crushers to halt their operations.