Brazilian Soy Crop Could Hit 60 MMT

Brazil's 2003-2004 soybean crop could hit 60 million metric tons, the head soy consultant for private Brazilian market analyst Safras & Mercado told Reuters News Service.

That level of production would represent an increase of 7.1% over USDA's current 2003-2004 Brazilian crop estimate of 56 million tons.

"This forecast of 60 million tons is not fully complete yet," said Flavio Franca Jr. "But there are signs that planting will be greater than our current official forecast of 57 million tons."

Franca said reports of losses to the U.S. soy crop due to hot and dry weather were driving up Chicago futures prices and that local producers would take international prices as a reference point when planting.

"Prices were pretty bad in July and August in comparison to earlier this year," said Franca. "But with the recent recovery in soy prices, we should see more corn fields converted into soy production."

Yields are expected to be better than last year also, he said. "We had serious problems with Asian soy rust and excess rains in Goias, Mato Grosso and Bahia last harvest."

If his preliminary assessment of a 60-million-ton new crop is confirmed, Franca said it was possible Brazil could export close to 27 million tons of soybeans, not including soymeal or soyoil.

"If output grows, Brazil could be in a position to surpass the United States as the world's largest soybean exporter," he said.

Corn Export Sales Surge

Weekly U.S. corn sales exceeded trade expectations during the week ended Sept. 18, with new sales reaching the highest level in nearly seven months, USDA reported Thursday morning.

USDA's weekly export sales report also showed soybean and wheat sales near the high end of expectations.

USDA reported net weekly corn export sales of 54.2 million bushels, versus trade expectations of 31.5-43.5 million bushels. The total was the highest since sales of 55.6 million bushels were recorded during the week ended Feb. 27, 2003.

A large sale of 19.7 million bushels of U.S. corn to an unknown destination helped boost the weekly sales total. Japan, Taiwan and Egypt were also significant buyers of U.S. corn on the week.

Three weeks into the new marketing year, net U.S. export sales commitments for 2003-2004 are now running 23.2% ahead of a year earlier.

USDA reported weekly U.S. soybean export sales of 27.2 million bushels, versus trade expectations of 18.5-29.5 million tons.

As expected, the strong soybean sales total was largely due to renewed Chinese buying. USDA reported that China bought over 12.1 million bushels of U.S. soybeans on the week.

For the 2003-2004 marketing year to date, net U.S. soybean export commitments are now running 30.4% ahead of a year earlier.

USDA reported weekly wheat export sales of 28.3 million bushels, versus trade expectations for 22-29 million bushels.

Egypt was again the leading buyer of U.S. wheat on the week, purchasing almost 6.75 million bushels. Mexico and Japan were next on the list of buyers. The net weekly sales total was lowered by the cancellation of 4.1 million bushels in sales to unknown destinations.

Net U.S. wheat export sales commitments for the 2003-2004 marketing year are running 17.2% ahead of the 2002-2003 pace. Actual U.S. wheat export shipments are running 17.6% ahead of a year earlier.

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.