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* India’s Feb oilmeal exports up 35 pct on year
* India’s April-Feb oilmeal exports down 12.8 pct on year
MUMBAI, March 7 (Reuters) - India’s soymeal exports fell 6.2 percent in February from a month ago, due to lower crushing as farmers hold back stocks on hopes of better prices, while the approaching arrival of the South American crop dampened demand for Indian meal.
India, Asia’s leading supplier of animal feed, exported 581,606 tonnes of soymeal in February, down from 619,793 tonnes in the previous month, industry body the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA) said in a statement.
“Crushing operations have slowed down because of thin availability. Spot supplies have reduced sharply because farmers are not willing to sell at these levels and they are expecting better prices,” said Chowda Reddy, a senior analyst at JRG Wealth Management.
Hamburg-based Oil World has raised its forecast for Brazil’s 2013 crop to 82.0 million tonnes from 66.4 million in early 2012 while Argentina will harvest 50.0 million tonnes, up from 39.9 million in 2012.
Iran, Vietnam and Japan were the top three buyers of Indian soymeal in February, the data showed.
Iran bought 189,975 tonnes of Indian soymeal in February, more than triple the 61,089 tonnes of the previous month, the data showed.
India and Iran have set up a mechanism to pay for 45 percent of New Delhi’s oil imports using the rupee currency, which does not trade freely on international markets. India wants to boost exports to Iran to help cut a huge trade imbalance and smooth rupee deals.
European feed makers usually buy soymeal from Brazil and Argentina, which are closer, but they also turn to Indian suppliers at times of shortage.
The European Union is likely to step up soymeal imports in the next few months as animal feed makers hope new South American soybean crops in early 2013 will depress prices, oilseeds analysts Oil World said on Feb 26.
In India, supplies from the new-season soybean crop started arriving in spot markets in October, but arrivals have slowed with the end of the peak crushing season in February. Soybeans are crushed to produce vegetable oils and meal for animal feed.
Total oilmeal exports from India in February rose 35 percent to 656,948 tonnes from a year ago.
Exports of rapeseed meal fell 43 percent to 45,656 tonnes in February from a year ago, the data showed.
India’s oilmeal exports in the 11 months of the fiscal year that began last April 1 were 4.336 million tonnes, down 12.8 percent from 4.97 million in the corresponding period a year earlier, mainly due to a ban by China.
China banned oilmeal imports from India at the start of this season after finding traces of malachite green, a hazardous chemical. (Reporting by Meenakshi Sharma; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)