By Roberto Samora, Ana Mano and Karl Plume
SAO PAULO / CHICAGO, Oct 29 (Reuters) – Brazil, one of the world’s largest agricultural producers, imports staple foodstuffs including soybeans due to rising domestic prices, President Jair Bolsonaro said in a video posted on social media.
Brazil’s shift to imports is the latest disruption to global food supply chains as soybean prices hover around four-year highs, China prepares to buy millions of tonnes of corn, and countries around the world stock up on wheat and other staples to ensure supply during the viral pandemic. corona.
“We are importing soybeans now because the price has gone up,” said the president in a video uploaded late Wednesday.
Bolsonaro did not mention the soybean import volume or its specific origin. This week, there was unconfirmed market chatter that at least one US soybean cargo was sold to Brazil.
“Sources said that at least one cargo of US soybeans was sold to Brazil last week, to be shipped from the US Gulf later this year,” said agribusiness consultancy StoneX in a note to clients Wednesday.
According to Brazilian government trade data, the country imported 542,000 tonnes of rice, mainly from Paraguay and Uruguay, in the first nine months of 2020. In a decision announced last month, Brazil exempted a quota of 400,000 tonnes of rice from outside Mercosur trade. blocks of import duties until 31 December.
Bolsonaro said Brazil had imported 400,000 tonnes from the United States, but government data and private sources said sales were not that big.
A US broker, who asked not to be named, said 100,000 to 120,000 tonnes of unmilled rice had been purchased for shipment to factories in Brazil by the end of the year. The US Rice Federation, which represents farmers, mills and exporters, said total sales were about 200,000 tonnes.
“This is really a one-time … It is in response to the crisis they are experiencing,” said USA Rice spokesman Michael Klein.
The US Department of Agriculture confirmed on Thursday 25,867 tonnes of US rice had been shipped to Brazil in the week ending October 22, more than it had shipped in a year in a decade.
Above, the Brazilian oilseed crushing industry group, told Reuters they could not confirm whether US soybeans had been sold to Brazil. But Abiove president André Nassar said several group members confirmed that a company was trying to import soybeans from the United States.
“I was told it was finally fulfilled,” said Nassar regarding the economy of buying soybeans from Brazilian rivals in the export market. China is the largest buyer of soybeans in Brazil.
The American soybean cargo will be used for internal processing in Brazil, said Nassar. He warned, however, that importing would require approval of certain genetically modified soy traits that were permitted in the United States but not Brazil.
The increase in grain prices has added to the cost of food, fueling inflation in Brazil.
On October 16 Brazil suspended corn import tariffs until March 31 next year from non-Mercosur suppliers. The same applies to soybeans, soybean meal, and soybean oil which lasts until January 15 in an effort to control inflation.
On Thursday, Brazil’s Economy Minister Paulo Guedes defended the elimination of tariffs on food imports to control prices.
“We are currently evaluating what tariffs will be cut because we want to facilitate recovery,” he said. “The price of rice has gone up a lot? I am aiming for import tariffs. Will the price of soybeans and soybean oil rise? I have zero import tariffs. ”
Between January and September, Brazil’s imports of soybeans reached 528,000 tonnes, government data show, with the Mercosur countries, particularly Paraguay, as the main supplier. (Reporting by Roberto Samora and Ana Mano in São Paulo and Karl Plume in Chicago. Written by Ana Mano. Editing by Jonathan Oatis and David Gregorio.)
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