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New Delhi — At least 7.8 million mt of soybeans are expected to sail out from Brazilian ports in April, with almost half of the volumes set for China, recent lineup data from shipping agency Williams showed.

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Due to the coronavirus pandemic, local authorities in Brazil have taken measures to limit the spread of the virus, raising concerns in the market about possible work stoppages at key agriculture ports.

However, loading and discharging of vessels has so far continued normally at key ports in Brazil, including Santos, Paranagua and Rio Grande, according to a recent update from shipping agency Wilson Sons.

Vessels are still scheduled to sail out with a combined 4 million mt of beans within the next seven days from various ports in Brazil, with some of the shipments likely spilling over to April.

The average pace of Brazilian soybean exports so far in March is 479,200 mt/day, according to data from Brazil's Ministry of Industry, Foreign Trade and Services (MDIC).

From February through May, Brazil's soybean exports generally pick up pace as the harvest season goes into full swing.

Brazil's March shipments have already risen sharply, with 7.2 million mt of soybeans shipped in the first three weeks of the month, double from the same period a month ago, according to MDIC data.

The Brazilian soybean export market has shown renewed signs of strength in March, most recently on the back of stronger demand from China where crushing margins were turning profitable again, according to sources.

The grain freight market has also remained weak amid a global trade slowdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. Soybean freight from Brazil to China has dropped $1/mt to $20.50/mt since the end of last week, according to S&P Global Platts data.

In recent years, China has been the biggest buyer of Brazilian soybeans, accounting for about 80% of shipments.