By Joanna Levin

THE US soyabean market remains depressed by chronic oversupply and competition from other grain crops.

Soyabeans ended the week down again, with the May contract closing at 627¢/bushel (376p/bushel) yesterday (Monday, 13 April), compared with 637.25¢/bushel a week ago.

Brazil is enjoying a bumper harvest thanks to El Niño. Port congestion has eased and export shipments from Santos now face only a seven-day delay.

This could prove good news for the USA as it now looks like the Brazilian crop will be sold before the North American harvest gets under way. Last year, Brazil finished exporting its crop in July. But US analysts had feared that this seasons Brazilian exports could drag on till October or November.

Experts believe that the USDA export forecasts for the year is too high at 25.7 million tonnes. They argue that 25m tonnes is a more realistic number.

US carryover stocks for 1998 are projected at over 12.5m tonnes – the highest since 1985. The latest weekly US export figures were disappointing at 230,000 tonnes.

A brighter spot in the market was soyabean oil, which rallied last week on news that last years ending oil stocks were actually 25% lower than originally expected. The May contract rose 140 cents on the week to close at 278.8¢.

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