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Published January 28, 2014, 12:43 PM

US soymeal shipments surge amid Argentina peso plunge

U.S. exporters shipped the most soymeal in nearly 16 years last week as farmers in Argentina, the top exporter of the animal feed, hoarded soybeans amid a plunging peso, analysts said on Friday.

By: Michael Hirtzer, Reuters

U.S. exporters shipped the most soymeal in nearly 16 years last week as farmers in Argentina, the top exporter of the animal feed, hoarded soybeans amid a plunging peso, analysts said on Friday.

The U.S. exporters loaded out 398,591 metric tons of soymeal, primarily to Asian destinations such as South Korea, Thailand and the Philippines. That was the biggest weekly shipment since April 1998, when exporters loaded 433,498 metric tons, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

“The peso is the reason why soymeal exports are so large — Argentina is out of the program,” said Terry Reilly, senior commodity analyst at Futures International in Chicago. “The shipments of nearly 400,000 (metric) tons are just incredible.”

Argentine farmers are holding about 8.4 million metric tons of soybeans — five times more than a year ago — as the country’s currency falls, making the beans more valuable to hold than the peso, according to Leandro Pierbattisti, an analyst with Argentina’s grains warehousing chamber.

The tight-fisted farmers limited the supplies soy processors in Argentina can crush and then sell in export markets, pushing business instead to the United States.

The large U.S. exports bolstered soymeal futures at the Chicago Board of Trade, which jumped 1.7 percent to $426.00 per short ton and notched the largest gains on Friday in the agriculture futures complex.

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