Brazil’s January corn exports at all-time high

According to official customs data, the country has exported the largest corn volume on record, while its soybean exports lag behind

Brazil exported the largest corn volume on record in January while the country’s soybean exports were sluggish, according to official customs data released on Wednesday, February 1, with lagging soybean exports linked to harvest and shipping delays.

Brazil’s corn exports reached 6.4 million tonnes in January, up from 2.7 million tonnes a year ago and above the previous record of 4.4 million tonnes shipped in January 2016.

Corn volumes shipped during the month largely overcame the latest estimates set forth by the country’s grains exporters association ANEC on January 31.

Anec had estimated the country would ship a total of 4.9 million tonnes during the month.

Brazil’s corn exports increased to most regions due to the relatively large domestic availability and competitive prices, but the main increases in absolute terms were to Asia.

Detailed export statistics will be available early next week when it will be possible to confirm how much of the upswing in Brazil’s corn exports to Asia was destined to China.

China started importing Brazilian corn in November 2022 and has secured nearly 1.2 million tonnes during the 2022 calendar year.

Soybean exports

While corn exports overcame expectations in January, the volume of soybeans shipped during the month came in below ANEC’s estimates of 1.2 million tonnes at only 851,878 tonnes.

This is considerably lower than the 2.5 million tonnes of beans exported in January 2022.

Despite the bumper soybean crop expected to be lifted from Brazilian fields in 2023, rains have delayed harvest works in the main producing center-west region.

Coupled with shipping delays linked to heavy rainfalls at ports in the southeast, this has curtailed Brazil’s soybean shipments through the first month of the year.

Brazil’s soybean exports are expected to gather momentum as harvest works advance from February onwards.

Soy oil and meal

Brazil exported 1.5 million tonnes of soy meal in January, just slightly below volumes exported a year ago but higher than ANEC’s latest estimate of 1.4 million tonnes.

At the same time, the country shipped 218,504 mt of vegetable fats and oils – mostly composed of soy oil – in January, up from 161,015 tonnes a year ago.

Brazil’s soybean crush is expected to increase year-on-year and producers have been heard trying to secure demand in the external market while the domestic biodiesel blend mandates are not lifted, which is scheduled to happen in March.

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