Friday, May 12, 2006

Commodities update: Soybean, Wheat, Corn

Quick update on agricultural commodities. News of possible land nationalization/reorganizing in Bolivia has me wondering what impact there might be on soybeans. Tensions still exist over Brazilian/Bolivian land disputes and may affect farmers working land in Bolivian lowlands bordering Brazil. From Bloomberg:

Brazilian farmers in Bolivia are concerned they may be the next target of a campaign by President Evo Morales to seize foreign assets.

``I'm very apprehensive,'' said Brazilian-born Ener Sanches, 46, who has 2,000 hectares (5,000 acres) planted with soybeans and owns a fertilizer company in the southern city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra. ``They are trying to pit one group against the other.''

There is a great deal of concern over gas disputes between Bolivia and its largest consumer of natural gas, Brazil. Now, a new source of tensions could emerge:

The second concern is illegal or undocumented occupation of Bolivian land, especially land within 50 kilometers (31 miles) of the Brazilian border, territory that Bolivia's constitution prohibits foreigners from owning, Colanzi said.

Brazilian farmers, who have helped make Brazil the world's second-largest soybean producer and exporter after the U.S., found it easy to move across the border and open up land in Bolivia.

According to Farm Futures news, the Chicago Board of Trade will launch a South American Soybean contract on Monday. South America produces over 50% of the world's soybeans.July soybean contract ended the day unchanged at $6.13 a bushel.

July Wheat ended up 9.4 cents at the CBOT to close at $401.4. Corn futures also closed higher, with the July corn contract up 11.2 cents to close at $2.58. Business Week reported an Agricultural Department study finds ethanol demand will push corn prices higher this year. News regarding wheat and soybeans were also included in the report.