(Reuters) - A U.S. grain export terminal near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is loading about 38,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans on a bulk cargo vessel for shipment to Brazil, according to a Southport Agencies shipping lineup seen by Reuters.
The unusual shipment from the United States, the world’s second-largest soybean exporter, to the top supplier of the oilseed comes as Brazil is grappling with rising prices of domestic food staples.
The vessel Discoverer arrived at the Louis Dreyfus Port Allen, Louisiana, terminal along the Mississippi River on Monday morning, according to Refinitiv Eikon vessel data.
The Discoverer is a “handisize” vessel that can hold about half as much as larger panamax vessels.
The Discoverer, chartered by Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC), is due to arrive at Brazil’s Paranaguá port on Nov. 20, according to Cargonave, a shipping agent.
LDC did not respond to requests for comment.
The soybeans will likely be processed in the town of Ponta Grossa, a market source told Reuters.
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro said last week that the country was shopping for imported soybeans and rice.
Graphic: US vs Brazil soybean prices in 2020 -
Brazil last month temporarily suspended import tariffs on corn, soybeans and soy products from outside its Mercosur trading bloc in a bid to rein in inflation.
Several months of record Brazilian soybean exports to China earlier this year depleted the country’s soybean supplies.
Of the roughly 56.3 million tonnes of soybeans China imported from April through September this year, 48.9 million tonnes, or 86%, came from Brazil.
Graphic: China soybean imports from USA vs rest of world -
The shipment to Brazil represents the largest such transaction since 1997, when the country imported more than 600,000 tonnes of U.S. soy, according to U.S. Census Bureau trade data.
Larger quantities of U.S. soybeans would require approval of certain genetically modified soy traits that are authorized in the United States but not in Brazil, according to Abiove, oilseeds crusher industry group.
Reporting by Karl Plume in Chicago and Ana Mano in São Paulo, Editing by Himani Sarkar and Steve Orlofsky
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