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Page history last edited by Brian D Butler 11 years, 6 months ago

Soy beans:


Soyabeans have been part of Asian life since the days when rulers claimed a mandate from heaven. Some 3,000 years later the humble legume is still dear to Asian hearts: witness the ugly street scenes in Indonesia last week sparked by record soyabean prices. Contracts for delivery next January have risen 25 per cent in two months, giving food for thought to governments of countries where the beans are a staple part of the diet.


The tale of the soyabean is essentially that of any other foodstuff writ large. Soyabean crops are being displaced in the US to make way for more lucrative corn, which can be used for biofuel. Rapidly growing bands of middle-class Asians are consuming more meat – which means more pigs and chickens eating soyabeans in feedstock. The poor, meanwhile, continue to rely on soya products such as tofu and fermented bean cakes for their daily protein.


Near-term supply dynamics offer little respite. According to the US department of agriculture, US soyabean acreage has peaked and is likely to drop below 70m acres by 2016, down about 9 per cent from 2006. Further yield improvements are possible, but many have already been garnered.


Brazilian producers have been hit by a vicious circle of poor yields and high debts; even if these ease, there are high shipping and fuel costs to factor into the equation. In parts of Asia itself, perverse subsidies make it cheaper to grow fertiliser-guzzling crops rather than the self-sufficient soyabean that creates its own nitrogen


While supply is tight, Chinese demand will continue to expand, accounting for three-quarters of the projected gain in world soya trade by 2016, according to the USDA. There are glimmers of hope on the horizon: at some point higher prices will prompt farmers to revert to soyabeans and Brazilian production is climbing. That, however, may come too late to prevent further anguish in the streets.




check with the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange for data.... normal production around....40 million  tonnes per year


read more about Argentina in GloboTrends



Read more from FT.com




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