* Paraguay is world's fourth-biggest soy supplier
* Several crushing plants in the pipeline
* Industry group sees risk from renewed Argentine demand
By Daniela Desantis
BUENOS AIRES, Nov 19 International grains
exporter Noble Group Ltd plans to build a soy-crushing
plant in Paraguay, the world's No. 4 exporter of the oilseed, an
industry group in the South American country said.
Paraguay, which currently exports most of its soy as raw
beans, could crush up to 4 million tonnes in 2013, after Archer
Daniels Midland, Bunge and Louis Dreyfus open
ADM's plant is due to start operating this week at the
river port of Villeta, close to the landlocked nation's capital,
Asuncion, the CAPPRO industry chamber said.
Noble has bought a 60-hectare site in Villeta and will soon
start operating a terminal that required an investment of $16
million. A larger investment in a crushing plant is also
planned, CAPPRO president Oscar Sosa told Reuters late on
"That's why they've joined the camera, because they've got a
future investment project linked to industrialization. They
haven't spoken about the year but they've got a project. They
bought a large plot and they're installing the port," Sosa said.
"I imagine they're going to keep an eye on what's going on,
how the country's production pans out with the new plans and how
the market behaves," he added.
The new plants should boost the country's daily crushing
capacity to 13.8 tonnes from 5.7 tonnes, Sosa said.
"We should be able to process 4.5 million tonnes of soy per
year, between 55 percent and 60 percent of production compared
with 22 percent today," he said.
Paraguay is expected to harvest a record soybean crop this
season, with the government projecting 8.4 million tonnes and
private producers estimating 8.0 million, both way up from last
year's drought-hit 4.3 million tonnes.
Investor optimism in Paraguay compares with the wariness of
grains exporters over a decision by neighboring Argentina to
allow imports of Paraguayan beans.
A poor harvest in Argentina, the world's No. 3 soy supplier,
has left plants there operating below normal capacity,
persuading authorities to allow imports from Paraguay after a
hiatus of several years.
CAPPRO is urging local officials to impose measures that
encourage crushing on Paraguayan soil to help limit outflows of
beans to Argentina that could leave new plants low on supplies.
"We're concerned, we're talking to authorities, trying to
make people realize we can't have a tax distortion making us
less competitive just as we invest in processing," Sosa said.
"There is already demand from Argentina to resolve the
problem of their idle plants and if we don't do anything we're
going to have to sit and watch them absorbing out produce."