Low water levels in Parana River unlikely to improve until next year: INA

11 May 2020 | Juan Pedro Tomas

Current low water levels on the Parana River are likely to remain during the rest of the year, Juan Borus, an expert at Argentina’s National Water Institure (INA), said in an online presentation organized by the Rosario Board of Trade (BCR).

According to the expert, the are no clear indications that the scenario could change in the coming months as the INA does not foresees high volumes of rains in the north of Argentina and the south of Brazil.

"I believe that the scenario could change once we have rains by the end of the spring. That will improve water levels in the first months of next year," he said.

The Parana River’s measurement index registered 0.5 meters on Sunday, well below the minimum 2.47-meter level to guarantee normal operations at the hub - a dynamic that has cost the grain industry $244 million so far due to slow grain loadings.

In Paraguay, low water levels in the Parana River is also negatively impacting soybean exports, Juan Carlos Munoz, head of Paraguay’s maritime and shipping chamber CAFyM, told Agricensus.

Extremely low water levels in certain sections of the Parana River are currently affecting nearly 150 barges loaded with 220,000 mt of soybean, he said.

Paraguayan exporters usually ship nearly 30% of total soybean exports via this section of the Parana river.

“We expect that this adverse scenario will delay the country’s soybean programme, which was initially scheduled to be completed by-mid-July and we now estimate that it could be completed in September or October,” he said.

Paraguay is set to produce over 10 million mt of soybeans in the 2019/20 crop cycle, while soybean exports will represent nearly 75% of overall production.