Buenos Aires, November 24th. Following, a brief of the most relevant issues related to the Argentine farming and agribusiness sectors.
1.- Next December 10th, a new government headed by Alberto Fernandez will take office, but the cabinet still remains unknown. In the last weeks, intense rumors circulated about who will run the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries. Economist Gabriel Delgado (photo) appears as the name with more chances to be appointed for the position. Born at a little rural town in the Buenos Aires province, Coronel Suarez, he developed his career at the Agriculture Technology National Institute (INTA). From 2013 to 2015, he was the Secretary of Agriculture (a Deputy Minister, in fact) during the Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner second mandate. He was also appointed to run the Banco Provincia (one of the largest public banks in Argentina) if Peronist candidate Anibal Fernández won the government of the Buenos Aires province in 2015. Now, some doubts still persist on whether the Agriculture government branch will be a ministry or a secretariat. Formally, the cabinet will be presented next December 6th, and some analysts don’t discard that, at the last minute, Alberto Fernández finally appoints a candidate with a high politician profile.
2.- The next harvest will be not as large as the 2018/19 one. Past week, officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries carried out a meeting on 2019/20 harvest perspectives, saying that corn output will touch 53 million metric tons versus 58 last season, and soybean output would reach 51.5 MMT, versus fifty-six million. Barley harvest will move down one million metric tons to 4 million and wheat will decrease to 19 MMT from initial 21 MMT and 19.6 last year. This is not good news for the Alberto Fernandez team since a lower harvest represents fewer dollars for the economy.
3.- October marked a new month with foreign trade surplus, the 14th in a row. Soybean, cereals (mostly corn) and beef appear as the most dynamic products in comparison with 2018. Thanks to a better harvest, soybean exports resumed their normal levels, from US$754 million (Jan-Oct 2018) to US$2.085 million this year. On the other hand, biodiesel exports fell this year from US$820 to US$616.
4.- According to the Statistics and Census National Institute, sales of farm machinery grew in the third quarter of 2019. Harvesters headed the growth with a 54% increase YoY, while tractors 39%, planters 13% and sprayers 11%. Some media reported increasing exports of planters this year.
5.- The oilseed industry marked a record for an October month, crushing 3.9 million metric tons of soybean. The availability of raw material after a 56 MMT harvest facilitated the access of the industry to the bean. Since January, the oilseed industry crushed 35.6 MMT, the third-largest volume in its track record.
6.- There are some concerns about regulations over spraying of chemicals. Past week, the low chamber of the Santa Fe province, one of the most important agricultural provinces in Argentina, passed an amendment restricting aerial and ground-based sprayings. If the senators also approve the bill, ground-based spraying of chemicals will be prohibited less than 1,000 meters from urban areas and 5,000 meters for aerial sprayings.