Brazil corn export rush edges out soybean at main grain ports
Brazil's main grain ports have seen a surge in corn exports at the expense of soybean, data from the country's trade ministry shows, as the industry starts to clear space ahead of the upcoming soybean crop.
Through January and February, as the 2017/18 soybean harvest picked up, the country’s main grain ports slowed soybean exports in an effort to free up terminal and warehouse space to focus on corn.
Brazil harvested a record 114 million mt soybean crop but most of the corn – 67.4 million mt – was harvested later in the year, when the major ports were choked with soybean with little spare capacity to load the less lucrative corn.
“The soybean crop was planted and is harvesting later this year, so exporters are taking the opportunity to ship inventories of corn now,” Enilson Nogueira of consultants Celeres told Agricensus, with most of the corn shipped in January and February old crop.
Brazil’s two biggest grain ports, Santos and Paranagua, exported 2.6 million mt of corn in January and February, up from 1.4 million mt in the same period of 2017.
Combined soybean exports over the same period fell to 1.8 million mt from 2.8 million mt.
Second tier ports like Rio Grande and Sao Francisco do Sul picked up some of the slack and increased their exports of soybeans compared with the first two months of last year, but also exported corn.
Brazil’s fast-growing northern arc of ports have seen less soybean and corn throughput this year as the region’s soybean harvest runs later than in the Centre South region.
Heavy rains also curbed exports, washing out the region’s main soy road known as BR-163 and stranding thousands of grain trucks until the rain lets up.
Peak season ahead
Brazil’s peak soybean export season typically spans March through September but may run later this year as delays in planting and harvesting the crop are felt.
Corn shipments will begin to ease as the new crop soybeans reach the main ports in the coming weeks.