March 1998 Circular Summary
The U.S. oilseed situation for 1997/98 was little changed this month but does reflect a strengthening in world vegetable oil demand and a weakening in protein meal demand. For vegetable oils, both U.S. soybean oil and sunflowerseed oil export forecasts were raised this month, helped by continued strong demand for vegetable oils worldwide and expected reduction in exportable supplies of soybean and sunflowerseed oils from South America compared to previous forecasts. For protein meals, forecast domestic use of soybean meal in the U.S. was reduced this month based on recent data showing a slow down in domestic offtake of soybean meal. Some of the decrease in domestic soybean meal use can be attributed to increased availability of other protein meals. In contrast, the 1997/98 U.S. soybean meal export forecast was increased to 6.9 million tons, up 136,000 tons and offsetting the reduction in domestic use leaving the U.S. soybean crush unchanged this month at 41.4 million tons. This is still an increase of 6 percent over the 1996/97 estimate.
The U.S. soybean export forecast was cut 272,000 tons this month to 25.9 million tons, 8 percent ahead of last year and still a record volume. Further cuts this month in Southeast Asian soybean imports and a slight upward revision for South American soybean exports are contributing factors to the reduction in export prospects this month. Asian soybean meal imports prospects were lowered this month but are more than offset by reduced soybean meal exports from India and Brazil.
U.S. soybean ending stocks are forecast at 6.9 million tons, up 272,000 tons from last month due to reduced exports. Soybean season average prices are essentially unchanged with the range narrowed to $6.20 to $6.80 per bushel. Soybean oil prices are increased to a range of 25.5 to 27.5 cents per pound while soybean meal prices are reduced to $190 to $200 per short ton.
Global oilseed production for 1997/98 is forecast at a record 283.6 million tons, unchanged from last month. Larger world peanut production due mainly to upward revisions for Chinas crop are offset by reductions in other oilseeds mainly rapeseed in India and sunflowerseed in Argentina. Excessive rains in Argentina were a problem during the flowering stage for the sunflowerseed crop in Argentina and likely contributed to losses during harvest as well as cutting yield potential.