Argentine soybean crush woes continue amid worsening margins

The country reports the lowest monthly record of soybean crush volumes

The outlook for Argentina’s soybean crush industry remains grim amid particularly low levels of capacity utilization and worsening margins, the country’s oil industry chamber Ciara-CEC showed in its monthly bulletin Monday, October 2.

The soybean crush fell 485,000 tonnes month on month to 2.1 million tonnes in August, the lowest level for the month on record.

The country crushed 19.6 million tonnes of soybeans through the first eight months of the year, the lowest level in 12 years and 7.2 million tonnes lower than in 2022.

The backdrop in Argentina’s soybean crush activity in August reduced the country’s industry capacity utilization rate from 43% in July to 35%.

The chamber showed that soybean crush margins that were mostly negative throughout August worsened further in September pressured by falling prices of downstream products on an FOB basis, which will do nothing to encourage a significant pick up in crush activity during the month.

“Crush margins remained negative [in September] due to the decline in international soy meal and soy oil prices while available soybean prices spiked sharply on the back of the soy dollar four, favoring direct soybean exports [to the detriment of downstream products],” Ciara-CEC said.

View our analysis of soybean oil cost and biofuel profit margins

Soybean farmer sales picked up in September fostered by the fourth round of export incentives to the sector, jumping from 750,000 tonnes in August to 3.2 million tonnes.

The new round of sales seems to have benefited direct soybean exports the most, with an increase in the number of soybean trucks arriving at ports in September, equated to about 1.1 million tonnes of beans compared with 454,000 tonnes in August.

Sunflower seeds & sunflower oil

Sunseed crush, meanwhile, remained broadly flat on the month at 404,000 tonnes with the 2.9 million tonnes crushed since the beginning of the calendar year being the largest volume on record.

Corn

Argentine farmers held back corn sales in September while ramping up fresh soybean commitments with corn volumes sold falling from six million tonnes in August, when the sector had its own export incentives, to 1.3 million tonnes.

USD inflows

The inflow of US dollars linked to the exports of grains, oilseeds and downstream products fell 50% during the first nine months of the year, Ciara-CEC said.

This was due both to the massive crop loss faced by the country and to the high basis of comparison as the country’s export income was bolstered in 2022 by the first round of the soy dollar policy.

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