Buenos Aires, October 23rd. According to the data from the National Census and Statistics Institute (INDEC), during September the crushing industry imported 124,387 metric tons of soybean, the lowest volume since January 2018.

The upper chart by RIA Consultores shows the declining trend in the soybean imports since the beginning of the year, and particularly, after the entering of the new harvest 2018/19 in May 2019. In March of the present year, the oilseed crushing industry imported 707K tons, a volume that started to descend in the following months until touching this low record in September.

From January to September, imports totalize 4.3 MMT worth at 1,5 billion dollars. Last year, due to the lower soybean production, the industry was forced to import a record volume of 6.4 MMT worth at 2.5 billion dollars. Paraguay is the largest bean supplier. This year the border country supplied 75% of the total, versus 65% last year.

The industry not only needs the imported soybean to cover its crushing capacity but to improve the protein content of the meal. The level of protein content in domestic soybean has been dropping during the last years, and the industry needs to raise the dryness of the bean and to mix it with Paraguayan soybean to elevate the protein content.

But, despite this need, the current economic framework conspires with the import of soybean. The high-interest rates, the elimination of the gap between soybean and soybean meal export taxes, brutal currency depreciation, and restrictions to buy dollars affected the normal performance of the agro-industries like crushing one.

On the other hand, the Paraguayan soybean offer is also declining at the present. “They harvest the soybean before the Argentinians and, assuming that output rounds 10 MMT, and a half of them are crushed locally, the offer to our market is low in this time of the year”, sources in the oilseed industry told to eFarmNewsAr.com.

But another source differs from official statistics and re-affirm the reliance of the industry over the imported soybean. “Based on the line-up, we have 220K tons imported during September and a similar volume to import during October and November. Due to the trade war between the US and China, local soybean exports are climbing and we estimate that in the present commercial year Argentina will export 10 MMT of soybean. The idea is to replace half of them via imported soybean”, this source said.