Monday, December 17, 2012

RTRS- Nov. US soybean crush largest in nearly 3 years - NOPA

Dec 14 (Reuters) - U.S. soybean processors crushed 157.308 million bushels in November, in line with trade estimates of 157.343 million and the largest monthly crush in nearly three years, the National Oilseed Processors Association said on Friday.

Soybean processors are crushing at a rapid rate to meet the strongest demand for U.S. soybean meal since the record year of export sales in the 2009/10 marketing season, industry sources said.

The soy crush in November was the largest for the month since November 2009 and the biggest overall since January 2010, NOPA data showed. Analyst estimates for the November soy crush ranged from 147.5 million to 164 million bushels.

But the crush is likely near its marketing-year peak as supplies from the just-completed harvest dwindle, making the plants pay higher prices to originate beans and squeezing profit margins in the process, analysts said.

The stockpile of U.S. soybeans is forecast to shrink to a nine-year low by the end of the marketing season that runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, the U.S. Agriculture Department said earlier this week.

"This (crush) is right at the top end of what we will see because we have to have the soybeans to crush," said Karl Setzer, analyst at MaxYield Cooperative in West Bend, Iowa. "We're over-crushing soybeans right now."

The soymeal yield increased slightly from October. However, processed soybeans continued to yield the lowest amount of protein in soymeal in two years after plants suffered under dry conditions and blistering heat during this summer's worst drought in five decades.

Comparatively better demand for soymeal than for soyoil also has stocks of the vegetable oil ballooning to 2.384 billion lbs, above the high end of analyst estimates that ranged from 2.138 to 2.280 and nearly 29 percent above a year ago, the data showed.

However, the crush is likely to remain strong at least until soy export powerhouses Argentina and Brazil begin harvesting their new crops early next year.

USDA on Thursday said U.S. exporters have sold 3.05 million tonnes of soymeal that they have yet to ship. That is the largest book of export sales in three years.

"It means they have to keep crushing, and the problem is, they don't have the beans to do that," said Anne Frick, oilseeds analyst at Jefferies Bache in New York.