New Delhi — US soybean futures prices closed above $12/bushel for the first time since 2014 on Dec. 17, due to export optimism, higher domestic crush and lower ending stocks, market sources told S&P Global Platts Dec. 18.
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The CBOT January soybean futures contract rose over 17.75 cents day on day to close at $12.01/bu Dec. 17.
US soybeans' weekly export net sales rose 62% week on week to 33.9 million bushels in the week ending Dec. 10, the US department of Agriculture's weekly export sales report showed Dec. 17.
China – the world's largest bean importer -- purchased a lion's share of US soybeans' weekly exports for the period between Dec. 4-10.
Increases primarily for China. Mexico, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand were somewhat offset by reductions primarily for unknown destinations, the USDA said.
Cumulative total export sales of US soybeans for the 2020-21 marketing year (September - August) were at 53.8 million mt, compared with 18.8 million mt in 2019-20, the report said.
High domestic demand
According to the USDA's latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report, the US soybean carryout is now seen at a seven-year low of 4.76 million mt, down 408,232 mt from last month's estimates, because of higher crush demand.
The USDA raised domestic crush usage 408,232 mt to 59.7 million mt for 2020-21.
The crush report of the National Oilseed Processors Association, or NOPA, also supported the US soybeans futures prices with an all-time high crush volume for November.
NOPA reported Dec. 15 that the November crush stood at 4.92 million mt against the analysts' average estimate of 4.89 million mt.
Backed by sufficient domestic soybean stocks despite high export demand, US crushers have been able to crush record volumes of the oilseed.
Domestic demand for US soybean meal and oil has been rising rapidly on thriving meat exports and stable crude oil usage, analysts said.
The demand for soybean meal has been boosted by the US meat processing industry, which uses it as an animal feed.
Soybean oil demand as a feedstock has also seen an upward trend due to rising biodiesel purchases, analysts said.
According to analysts, US soybeans futures prices are expected to be largely dependent on China's purchases and the South American weather in the coming days.
Both Brazil and Argentina are experiencing dry weather and inconsistent rains since September. As La Nina gets stronger in the coming weeks, dry weather is forecast to persist till January in most parts, especially in Argentina, which could mean lower than expected soybean supply for 2020-21 from South America.