India’s soyameal export is heading for its worst performance in 26 years in the current fiscal, as poor raw material supplies for most part of the year trimmed production and also hurt competitiveness in the overseas market.
The outbound shipment hit 1,03,934 tonne in January, down 71.5% from a year before, according to data released by Soyabean Processors Association (SOPA) on Friday. Although the exports recovered slightly from a trough in September, they reached just 5.35 lakh tonne during April-January, as againat 24.25 lakh tonne a year before.
Industry executives say soyameal exports could touch around 7.50 lakh tonne in 2014-15, their lowest since 1988-89 when the country had shipped out 7.56 lakh tonne. The data do not include supplies to Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh by rail or road.
Industry executives said exports of soyameal, widely used as animal feed, have declined sharply this fiscal as poor availability of soyabean coupled with high rates led to a disparity with international prices. Moreover, demand from key buyers has taken a knock — easing sanctions on Iran has prompted that country to go for cheaper South American supplies, and Japanese importers have reduced purchases from India. While prices of the commodity in India have been ruling at $460-470 per tonne, they have been $30-40 higher than the South American prices, they added.
Traders said soyabean production dropped 18.5% in the last crop year through June to almost 12 million tonne, which drove up prices earlier in the fiscal. Farmers, too, held back stock 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 2014 worsened the matter.
Overall oilmeal exports tumble 63%
Exports of oilmeal — including soyameal, castorseed meal and rapeseed meal — also crashed by 63% to 1,59,000 tonne last month, mainly due to a sharp fall in soyameal shipments, according to Mumbai-based Solvent Extractors Association. In the first ten months of this fiscal, the export of oilmeals fell 44% from a year before to 2.02 million tonne.
Apart from soyameal, the shipment of rapeseed meal hit 44,361 tonne, rice-bran extraction 5,850 tonne and castorseed meal 5,255 tonne.