March 8, 2018 / 12:18 PM / 17 days ago

COFCO, ADM boost Brazil grain exports, close in on Cargill

    By José Roberto Gomes
    SAO PAULO, March 8 (Reuters) - China's COFCO International
and U.S. Archer Daniels Midland Co (ADM) climbed the
ranks of grain exporters from Brazil in 2017, setting themselves
up for another record Brazilian crop this year, data collected
by shipping agency Williams showed.
    COFCO exported 9.3 million tonnes of grains including
soybeans, soymeal and corn from Brazil last year, a four-fold
increase from 2016, as acquisitions of Nidera NV and Noble Agri
and an aggressive approach to farmers boosted volumes.
    The Chinese firm passed two of the four "ABCD" sector
players — ADM, Bunge Ltd, Cargill Inc and Louis Dreyfus
Corp — in the Brazilian grain export rankings. It is now ahead
of ADM and Dreyfus and closing in on Cargill. (See table below)
    ADM reported the second largest growth in volumes from 2016
to 2017, at 140 percent, reaching 8 million tonnes. 
    ADM completed investments last year of 280 million reais 
($86 million) in the port of Santos, expanding its terminal
capacity by 33 percent.
    It also quadrupled capacity at its northern Barcarena port,
a venture with Glencore Plc, cutting the cost of
shipping soy and corn from top state producer Mato Grosso. 
    All other commodities traders saw increases in volumes last
year, as Brazil rebounded from a poor 2016 crop due to drought
and delivered a bumper crop in 2017. Stronger Chinese demand for
soybeans also boosted numbers, particularly for COFCO. 
    "During the past two crops they (COFCO and ADM) have been
very aggressive in the market," said Arlindo Moura, chief
executive of Terra Santa Agro SA, which grows grains
on 158,200 hectares (390,920 acres) of farms in Mato Grosso.
    "COFCO has access to the Chinese soy market of a kind that
others lack," he said.
    Moura said farmers benefited from the aggressive approach of
some traders. "They are in the market all the time, they give us
options," he said.   
    Zilto Donadello, who runs a 700-hectare farm in northern
Mato Grosso, said competition among traders yielded benefits
such as a 1.80 reais bonus per bag of soy as firms rushed to
fill vessels.
    Bunge and Cargill still top the ranking with 16 million
tonnes and 12 million tonnes, respectively. Bunge's shipments
grew 45.6 percent, while Cargill's rose 39 percent. The
third-largest exporter, Japan's Marubeni, shipped 10 million
                (Volumes in million tonnes)
 TRADERS            2016          2017      PCT  
 ADM                3.33         8.02       140
 Bunge             11.11        16.18        45
 Cargill            8.76        12.16        38
 COFCO              2.17         9.30       327
 Louis Dreyfus      6.00         8.45        40
 Marubeni           9.38        10.01         6
    Source: Williams shipping agency
    ($1 = 3.24 reais)

 (Reporting by José Roberto Gomes
Writing by Ana Mano and Marcelo Teixeira
Editing by Edmund Blair)
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