Brazil bean exports to Argentina set to pass 800k mt by May: data

Argentina’s imports of Brazilian soybeans could surpass 800,000 mt by early May, putting the figure just above the full-year imports of 657,000 mt reported in 2018 – the highest import figure of the last ten years, Agricensus analysis of customs and port lineup data shows.

In March, customs data showed 178,307 mt of soybeans left Brazil towards Argentina, totaling 404,374 in the first quarter of the year, an all-time high.

Until now, the highest volume for this period was traded in 2018, when Brazil exported 383,956 mt to Argentina from January to March.

Lineup data from shipping agency Cargonave account for another 431,730 mt of beans that have been shipped or are scheduled to leave Brazilian ports carrying beans to Argentina between the beginning of April and the first week of May.

This would bring total volumes shipped until early May up to 836,105 mt, already placing Brazil’s 2023 exports to Argentina as the largest on record.

Agrural’s senior analyst, Daniele Siqueira, told Agricensus that the lineup only shows volumes shipped by sea and not the ones sent by the river or truck, which means figures could be even higher if the volumes sent via Murtinho port, in Mato Grosso do Sul, are considered.

“As only 133,000 mt left via Porto Murtinho in the first quarter due to harvest delay in Mato Grosso do Sul, I imagine that in April there will be a much larger volume leaving from there and also by truck,” Siqueira said.

Most vessels carrying Brazilian beans to Argentina are Handy-sized, loaded with around 30,000 mt.

This allows them to reach the Up River hub, where most of Argentina’s soybean crush capacity is installed, directly through the Parana River waterway, reducing freight costs.

Low river levels were an issue in recent years but, despite the severe drought, levels are currently high enough to allow for handy-sized vessels almost fully loaded to pass through, local sources have told Agricensus.


The flows herald a widely expected influx of Brazilian soybeans into Argentina and comes as physical basis values for Brazilian soybeans collapse amid relatively poor demand from staple buyers like China.

Home to one of the world’s biggest soybean crush industries, Argentina has been rocked by persistent drought across the country’s most productive regions, which has reined in corn, wheat, and soybean production forecasts.

According to USDA data, Argentina was expected to produce up to 51 million mt of soybeans at the outset of the 2022/23 marketing year, outlooks have been dramatically reduced to stand at 27 million mt as of the April release of the World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates (Wasde). 

That's a 47% reduction on the agency's initial estimates, while local agencies such as the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange (BAGE) and the Rosario Grains Exchange (BCR) are holding much lower estimates of 25 million mt and 23 million mt respectively. 

The dry conditions have slashed domestic production at a time when, paradoxically, Brazil has registered its biggest ever soybean crop, with analysts expecting it to harvest well above 150 million mt this year.

Customs data, as captured on the Agricensus Export Dashboard, shows 226,000 mt of soybeans left Brazil in February heading to Argentina, as the early impact of harvest started to open flows of soybeans.

That marked the busiest individual month for the trade between the two countries on record at that time.

Meanwhile, Brazilian and Argentine customs and line-up data suggest the trend extended into March and April – and is likely to extend even further into the year as Brazilian basis values turn heavily negative amid the weight of available supply.

This article was updated to add further volumes to the totals.