Ahead of the USDA WASDE report, to be released 8th December (12:00 pm ET), soybean prices have trended lower, due to expectations of larger-than-anticipated South American supply, with market players anticipating an increase to Argentinian crop estimates. The CBOT soybean futures price (Dec-23) settled at USc 1,305.4/60 lb bushels on 5th December, down 3% week-on-week (w-o-w). There has been further downward pressure this week due to recent rainfall in Brazil.
Market players expect the US soybean crop estimate for the 2023/24 season to remain unchanged m-o-m in this month’s USDA update, following a 0.6% m-o-m increase to 112.4 million metric tonnes in November, on the back of higher yields. In South America, positively progressing plantings in Argentina have improved prospects for the Argentinian crop, with the trade estimates anticipating a slight upward revision to the crop this month. According to market sources, in the week to 28th November, plantings reached 44% of the intended planting area; 17 percentage points (p.p) compared to the same period last year when the country was plagued by severe drought conditions. While a massive recovery is shaping up for the Argentinian soybean crop (+92% y-o-y), logistical constraints and government policies will remain critical market movers.
Despite uncertainties surrounding the Brazilian crop due to prolonged dryness, with plantings behind last year’s levels, various agencies including the USDA and CONAB maintain projections for the second consecutive year of record high output. However, Mintec has received widespread range estimates from market players with the lower range pegging the crop at 152 million metric tonnes. Notwithstanding the uncertainties to the Brazilian crop outlook, market players opine that the global soybean outlook may still hold promise for the 2023/24 season.