South America Calling

Brazil's Corn Market Sees Busy July

Brazil's corn market has been hot over the last couple of weeks.

First the spike in international prices at the start of the month and then the dramatic drop in the Brazilian real boosted prices immediately post-harvest and farmers have been selling 2015 second-crop corn in large volumes as closing some 2016 forward contracts.

With a larger-than-expected crop to place, farmers have taken advantage of strong exports to place corn.

As a result, Mato Grosso farmers have now sold 69% of their second corn crop, massively higher than the 30% sold at the same time last year, according to the Mato Grosso Agricultural Economy Institute (IMEA).

Brazil surprised with a massive second crop this year, which the local government pegs at 51.5 million metric tons (mmt), up 6% on what was considered a bumper crop last year.

Meanwhile, the Brazilian real has tanked 9% against the dollar in July.

These two factors mean the South American ag giant has abundant corn at competitive prices. Even with a decline in export premiums in recent weeks, shipment of corn from Paranagua in September is much cheaper, quoted at $145 per ton, than the Gulf of Mexico, quoted at $170 per ton.

As a result, Brazil's port lines are filling up. It will export around 2.8 mmt in July and will probably ship around 4 mmt in August, based on nominations (shipments scheduled so far).

Many Brazilian farmers now expect to break even or make a small profit on their second-crop corn this year, something that was far from certain ahead of planting.

With prices in reals strong, farmers are also placing 2016 crop, especially in Mato Grosso and surrounding areas.

In southern Brazil, where prices are higher, business has been slower. Parana has sold 25% of its second-crop corn, according to the state agricultural secretariat.



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