[print this page]

Market Outlook
January 15, 2008

During the 2006/07 marketing year (September-August), U.S. dry bean export volume declined 8% from a year earlier to 6.98 million cwt.

Volume was still 47% above the very low level of two seasons earlier and 14% above that of three seasons ago.

Export volume declined to the
Dominican Republic (down 22%), Japan (down 11%), the United Kingdom (down 7%), and Mexico (down 8%), offsetting increased movement to Cuba (up 115%), Spain (up 29%), and Canada (up 4%).

Although volume was lower this past season,
Mexico remained the top destination for U.S. dry edible bean exports, with 31% of the total volume shipped during 2006/07 (the same share as in 2005/06). Black beans and pinto beans accounted for more bean export value to Mexico remained virtually even with a year earlier at $62 million, with black beans accounting for about $30 million in 2006/07. The average export value per pound for all U.S. dry beans shipped to Mexico was 28.9 cents, up 9% from a year earlier.

Navy bean exports rose 15% to 1.22 million cwt -- the second consecutive annual increase and the strongest volume since 2002/03. Reduced exports to the
United Kingdom (down 23%) were more than offset by greater movement into Canada (up 40%) and Saudi Arabia.

Given good supplies from the large 2006 crop, garbanzo bean (chickpea) exports increased 20%, the third consecutive annual increase and the strongest gain experienced since 2001/02.

Shipments increased to
Spain (up 67%), Colombia (up 242%), and New Zealand (up 62% from last years small volume). Exports declined for 11 of the 18 dry bean trade categories reflecting lower supplies and higher prices.

Although down 20% from the previous seasons strong level, pinto bean exports remained the top export class, accounting for 29% of all dry bean exports. Great Northern bean exports fell back to 2004/05 levels after experiencing a surge in 2005/06 due to strong movement to
Iraq, Cuba, and France.

Imports rise

Dry bean import volume rose 24% to 2.77 million cwt during the 2006/07 crop yearnearly equal to the 2001/02 record high (2.78 million cwt). Canada (up 10%), China (up 43%), and Mexico (up 6%) were the top three foreign suppliers of dry beans over the past marketing year, accounting for more than two-thirds of U.S. dry bean import volume. China accounted for 25% of all dry bean imports, with most of the volume in black beans (42% of the total) and mung beans (30%). As with China, dry bean imports from Peru have been rising, accounting for 12% of total volume in 2006/07. Peru shipped a broad spectrum of dry beans to the United States, although the majority consisted of blackeye and lima (large and baby) beans. With higher market prices, the value of all U.S. dry bean imports reached a record $99 million in 2006/07.

y Gary Lucier, USDA Economic Research Service, Vegetables and Melons Outlook, October 25, 2007

Prices Remain Strong

Reflecting scant grower offerings, low beginning stocks, and the general upward ratcheting of all field crop prices caused by strong domestic and world demand, dry bean grower prices remain strong.

The crop year began on a strong note, with Septembers preliminary all dry bean price of $24.90/cwt averaging one-third above that of a year earlier. If this price holds, it would be the strongest opening price since 1988s drought-induced $27.10.

Despite the small gain in production, it does not seem likely that prices for the majority of dry edible beans will experience much, if any, seasonal softening following harvest. In fact, this may not be a typical marketing year for most classes of dry beans partly because of the complexities offered by strong markets for virtually all field crops.

Because of high prices and good cash flow for most crops, growers are less likely to be anxious sellers this year. In a typical year, about a third of all dry beans are marketed by the end of October and the current market tone (limited trading, few price changes) does not seem to support that level. This season, growers may adopt a slightly more cautious wait and see approach as they did in 2000/01, when less than 30 percent of the crop was moved before November.

Through mid-October, grower and dealer prices remained strong relative to past years. The only classes observed to have grower prices below a year earlier were baby
lima and blackeye, with both these classes still well above the averages experienced during the past 5 years. The greatest upward price movement early this season has been for Great Northern, light red kidney, black, dark red kidney, and navy beans.

For pinto beans, which typically account for 40 to 45 percent of all dry bean production, prices may pause as the crop size becomes officially established. However, pinto grower prices during 2007/08 will still likely average above the relatively strong $21.15 estimated for the 2006/07 crop.

Dry bean prices will remain strong to assure competitiveness with soybeans, wheat, and corn next spring.

By Gary Lucier, USDA Economic Research Service, Vegetables and Melons Outlook,
October 25, 2007



Other Headlines

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our Email Newsletter
For Email Marketing you can trust


Northarvest Bean Growers Association | 50072 East Lake Seven Road | Frazee, MN 56544
Ph: 218-334-6351 | Fax: 218-334-6360 | Email: