Bunge May Import Soymeal, Oil

Bunge Ltd., the world's largest oilseed processor, said on Wednesday it would import South American soymeal and soyoil into the United States if needed, but avoided talk that it planned soybean imports.

"If there is a need for our customers to have imports of soybean meal or soybean oil into the U.S., we will serve our customers' needs," Bunge Chief Financial Officer Bill Wells told Reuters News Service.

When asked if Bunge was looking at the possibility of importing soybeans, Wells said:"Our focus has been on soybean meal and soybean oil." Pressed on whether this meant Bunge would not be importing soybeans from South America, Wells said:"My answer is, our focus is soybean meal and soybean oil". Wells also declined to comment on whether Bunge had already booked South American soymeal and soyoil for import.

Rumors at the Chicago Board of Trade that Bunge was making freight inquiries through its Geneva office to book a Panamax vessel to ship Brazilian soybeans and soymeal into the United States in June helped trigger sharp losses in CBOT soybean futures.

A source at Bunge’s Brazilian subsidiary later told Reuters that the company was close to closing a sale of local soymeal to U.S. buyers.

"The head company (Bunge Ltd. in the U.S.) made an inquiry and we are checking on ships," the source told Reuters by telephone. "It's possible it (the sale) will go through."

Soybean imports appear unlikely due to concerns that they could lead to the spread of Asian rust fungus to the United States. USDA has yet to decide whether to set tougher restrictions on South American soybean imports and USDA officials would not say when a final policy decision might be made.

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.