Corn premiums at Buenos Aires ports spike amid low water levels: BCR

1 May 2020 | Juan Pedro Tomas

Exporters have been paying 10% higher premiums on average in April for corn delivered at Argentina’s Bahia Blanca port compared to Up-River ports, according to a recent report by the Rosario Board of Trade (BCR).

That compares with April 2019, when exporters had paid an average premium for corn delivered to Bahia Blanca 4% higher compared to ports in the Rosario hub.

On certain days during April, corn exporters had to pay a premium of up to $20/mt above prices in Rosario for grain delivered at Bahia Blanca terminals, BCR said.

Low water levels in the Parana river are preventing full loading of cargoes in the Up River hub, meaning that vessels have to head to Atlantic ports like Necochea or Bahia Blanca to top up to complete the full cargo.

BCR said that corn exports from ports in the south of Buenos Aires province had increased 9% year-on-year in April to 540,000 mt.

In April, corn exports from grain ports in Rosario and San Lorenzo had amounted to 2.9 million mt, flat compared with April 2019.

BCR highlighted that ports in Rosario and San Lorenzo accounted for 63.6% of total corn exports in April, followed by ports in Necochea and Bahia Blanca, with 11.7%. 

In April last year, ports in the Rosario hub accounted for 78.7% of total corn exports, while Necochea and Bahia Blanca accounted for 13%.

Argentina’s Parana River water depth has been slowing down grain loadings and logistics at the nation’s key waterway, costing the local grain industry $244 million in the last four months, BCR recently said.