Argentina is keeping rapeseed prices supported: Grain market daily

Tuesday, 7 March 2023

Market commentary

  • UK feed wheat futures (May-23) closed yesterday at £218.00/t, down £3.50/t on Friday’s close. New crop futures (Nov-23) closed at £224.75/t, down £2.60/t over the same period.
  • Our domestic market followed both the Paris and Chicago market down yesterday. Expectations of the renewal of the Black Sea grain export deal is pressuring the market. With Turkish Foreign Minister saying that Turkey is working to extent the U.N-backed initiative.
  • The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARES) increased their estimate for 2022/23 wheat production to a record of 39.2Mt.
  • Paris rapeseed futures (May-23) closed yesterday at €529.75/t, down €8.75/t on Friday’s close. ABARES also upped Australia’s 2022/23 record canola crop from 7.3Mt to now be estimated at 8.3Mt.
  • Despite pressure on rapeseed prices, Chicago soyabean markets felt support yesterday, following the rallying support in soyameal markets. This is from global supply concerns over the ongoing drought in Argentina and their share of soyameal exports to the world – read more on this below.

Argentina is keeping rapeseed prices supported

Argentina has been hit by the worst drought in 60 years, which has been ongoing since last year. To start, it severely impacted their wheat crop for this marketing year (2022/23). Currently, it is having significant implications on their spring cropping which is being hit hard by the ongoing drought.

We’ve been discussing for a while that the impacting risk of the La Niña weather event has been priced into the soyabean market. That combined with other factors, such as demand for biofuels, has kept soyabean prices elevated. Which to some extent has provided the fundamental supporting floor to domestic rapeseed prices.

According to Buenos Aires Grain Exchange (BAGE) 67% of the soyabean crop (up until 02 Mar) is rated “poor / very poor”, up from 60% estimated the week before and up from 23% estimated at the same point last year. The crop is currently forecast at 33.5Mt by BAGE, further revisions are expected to this crop. Oilworld predict that the crop could be somewhere between 25Mt to 28Mt, significantly down from the potential of 48Mt which was expected at the start of the growing cycle (

Over the next seven days, temperatures are going to be abnormally high in Argentina’s agricultural region, which will further add stress, we are awaiting further revisions for this soyabean crop.

  A map showing Argentina's weather

Predicting the USDA

Tomorrow the latest USDA March World Agricultural Supply & Demand Estimate (WASDE) is going to be released, with revisions expected to Argentina’s maize and soyabean crops.

  A table showing Argentina's WASDE predictions.

Average analysts’ estimates are pegging Argentina’s soyabean production at 36.65Mt, with anticipations of 4.35Mt being trimmed in one hit. However, production is still higher than other agricultural consultancies such as BAGE (33.5Mt) and Rosario Grain Exchange (34.5Mt).

With the WASDE being a large source of driving market sentiment, if this prediction is greater than expectations, could we see further support for soyabean prices? I’d argue if they slash further than it wouldn’t be much of a surprise, unless it goes under 30Mt.

But where now for prices?

Has the market really priced in the extent of the damage to this soyabean crop? At first the market was very concerned on the marginal trims. However, since then we have seen very large cuts to the initial estimate.

This is going to have implications to the global market, especially for soyameal markets. With Argentina’s processing capacity of soyabeans, if that reduces, this will have knock-on implications for soyameal and Argentina’s ability to meet export expectations.

Despite all this bullish news, there is still a large Brazilian soyabean crop due with Conab (Brazilian government) currently estimating the crop at 152.9Mt, increasing by 21.8% year-on-year. This is being harvested right now, albeit slightly delayed, but it is progressing. This slight delay, combined with disruptions in inland transportation in Brazil, has limited exports of soyabeans and soyameal recently. This has the potential to bring back some demand to US origin soyabeans, which could then reduce their ending stocks further, which currently are the tightest since 2015/16.

In the short term, as adverse weather prevails in Argentina there is going to be an underlying market support for soyabeans, which will inherently feed into domestic rapeseed prices.

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