India profits from high soybean prices
India, Asia's biggest exporter of soybean meal, may
ship record volumes of the animal feed next year after farmers planted more
soybeans to benefit from high prices for the commodity and its products.
Soybean meal exports in the year starting November may exceed this year's
expected 3.7 million metric tons and last year's record 4 million tons, Rajesh
Agrawal, a spokesman for the Soybean Processors' Association of India
Higher Indian exports may pose competition for the U.S. and
Latin American suppliers of soybean meal in Japan, South Korea and Thailand.
India traditionally exports the soybean product to Southeast Asian countries and
may begin shipping to Europe this year if the bloc bans imports of genetically
modified crops, Agrawal said. India's soybean meal is biotech-free.
Depends on prices
"More supply is good news for importers like
us as we can diversify sources,'' said Kim Chi Young, purchasing team manager at
the Korea Feed Association. "Of course, it depends on prices, including freight
costs.'' Some Indian traders have sold about 50,000 tons of soybean meal from
the new crop at prices ranging from $290 to $295 a ton for delivery in November
and December to Southeast Asian countries. The price, including freight costs,
compared with between $230 and $235 a ton a year earlier, Agrawal said.
In its latest tender, the Korea Feed Association bought soybean meal
from South America for arrival by Oct. 11 at $299 a ton, including freight
costs, Kim said.
Indian farmers have
planted an estimated 7.8 million hectares (19 million acres) of soybeans, 6%
more than a year ago, according to the farm ministry. "The crop is in good shape
and intermittent rains in recent days will help a good harvest,'' the
Processors' Association's Agrawal said.
Soybean meal, India's
largest meal export, is added to poultry feed as a form of protein to aid birds'
growth. The country usually exports more than 70% of its output, benefiting from
low freight costs to Asian markets. India is the second-biggest importer of
soybean oil, used mainly for cooking, after China.
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