SAO PAULO, March 26 (Reuters) - Measures taken to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus in Argentina, which have hampered local logistics capabilities, may end up benefiting Brazil in soymeal export markets, said Caramuru Alimentos, one of Brazil’s largest soy processors.
“Argentina placed transport restrictions much stricter than ours, and this can benefit our soymeal exports because we are direct competitors and they are the largest exporters in the world,” Fabio Vieira Junior, Caramuru’s commercial director, told Reuters on Thursday.
The coming weeks will be crucial to determining how the competition scenario will play out, Vieira Junior said. Caramuru claims to be the biggest soy processor in the country owned by Brazilians.
More than 70 municipalities throughout Argentina are enforcing anti-coronavirus measures by controlling the movement of farm produce through their jurisdictions, according to data provided by the CIARA-CEC export chamber, which represents global companies including Bunge and Louis Dreyfus.
At the same time, port workers in Argentina on Thursday asked the government to suspend port activities for 15 days nationwide.
Andre Nassar, president of Brazil’s oilseeds crusher group Abiove, said in a statement it was unclear how Argentine exporters will contend with the lockdown.
Doubts also remain about how Europe will behave as an importer since it became the epicenter of the pandemic after China, where the coronavirus originated, he said.
Abiove’s own soy and meal export projections remain unchanged even in the face of domestic quarantine measures potentially disrupting oilseeds processors and export logistics.
Cesar Borges, Caramuru vice-president, said domestic demand for livestock feed in the form of meal, as well as biodiesel producers’ demand, should keep the soy derivatives market heated.
This, together with a weak currency and good prices in Chicago, is a boon for the company, Borges said.
Caramuru had revenues of 4 billion reais ($797 million) last year, and this year forecasts a rise to 4.5 billion reais, he said. ($1 = 5.0175 reais) (Reporting by Nayara Figueiredo Writing by Ana Mano Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)