China Soy Shipments Suspended

Most international soybean suppliers had by Monday suspended loading South American cargoes for China due to a growing risk of defaults and increasing quarantine complications, Reuters News Service reported.

Traders told Reuters many Chinese buyers were reluctant to pay the fees for canceling or delaying expensive South American cargoes contracted during a surge in international soy prices and freight rates.

“You don't have a choice" but to suspend loading, said a senior trader at an international house. "It's common sense."

The traders said 20 to 30 cargoes were at risk of defaults, if not more, as most cargoes scheduled for shipment in June and July had been hit. There were also a number of threatened cargoes already sailing towards China, or that had arrived there.

"It's a crisis," said a second senior trader at an international house in Beijing. "There are contracts ... If the market changes and they don't want to perform, they should pay."

Adding to the complications, China’s quarantine bureau (CIQ), rejected a third Brazilian cargo over the weekend, saying the cargo in Zhangzhou in southern China was contaminated with a harmful chemical known as carboxin.

In addition, the CIQ has added Cargill Inc. to the list of suppliers that have been indefinitely barred from bring Brazilian soybeans into China. The list now includes seven suppliers, including nearly all the top suppliers.

One industry source told Reuters China rejected the Zhangzhou cargo after officials had found nine contaminated colored beans during a thorough search of the 61,100-metric-ton cargo.

Most soybean and soymeal futures contracts on China’s Dalian exchange rallied their daily limit Monday and were limit up again on Tuesday of last week in response to the prospect of shrinking soybean imports in coming months and U.S. planting delays.

Traders told Reuters futures prices were also helped by an agreement between Chinese crushers, who met on Saturday to set a floor price for domestic soymeal prices at 2,900 yuan ($350) per metric ton after it sank towards 2,600 yuan last week.

However, there were reports last week that cash-starved processors were undercutting the agreed-upon floor price. Traders said many crushers were selling at low prices to secure cash to pay for high-priced South American import cargoes en route to China or scheduled for June and July shipment.

Editors note: Richard Brock, The Corn and Soybean Digest's Marketing Editor, is president of Brock Associates, a farm market advisory firm, and publisher of The Brock Report.

To see more market perspectives, visit Brock's Web site at www.brockreport.com.