The outbound shipments tumbled to to just 2.05 million tonne until July since the marketing year started in October, 34% lower than 3.11 million tonne a year earlier, according to data by the Soyabean Processors Association (SOPA).
Exports so far this fiscal dropped at an even sharper pace to 98,000 tonne, as against 5,18,000 tonne in the same period last fiscal. These data do not include supplies to Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh by rail or road.
Exports of soyameal, widely used as animal feed, have declined sharply in the past six months as poor availability of soyabean coupled with high rates led to a disparity with international prices, said Rajesh Agrawal, co-ordinator with SOPA.
Senior trade executives said soyabean production dropped 18.5% in the last the crop year through June to 11.95 million tonne, which drove up prices. Farmers, too, held back stocks anticipating even higher prices, compounding concerns of soyameal exporters facing stiff competition in a market already awash with South American supplies. Poor monsoon in the largest soyabean-producing state of Madhya Pradesh up to mid-July further worsened the matter.
Consequently, exports could drop even below 2.5 million tonne in the current marketing year through September, compared with 3.47 million tonne of soyameal in 2012-13, they added.
The freight-on-board price of India's soyameal is already higher by roughly $30 than South America's, a trader said.
Overall oilmeal exports drop
Exports of oilmeal, including soyameal, castorseed meal and rapeseed meal, also dropped by 37% to 1,15,000 tonne last month, mainly due to a sharp fall in soyameal shipments, according to Mumbai-based Solvent Extractors Association (SEA).
Apart from soyameal, castor seed meal shipments also dropped to 20,722 tonne last month, compared with 25,171 tonne a year before.
However, rapeseed meal exports more than doubled to 87,637 tonne in July as against 40,902 tonne a year before.