Bean Export Nations Face Supply Crunch
August 01, 2001

By Brian Clancy

China and Argentina appear to be facing some production problems this year, according to reports presented at the recent U.S. Dry Bean Convention held in Park City, Utah.

Brad Ford, with KBC Trading and Processing Co., reports that dry weather early in the growing season could trim Chinas bean yields, offsetting much of the countrys increase in planted acres. He says Argentina is also facing problems.

Chinas crop was planted pretty much on time; however, very dry conditions prevailed for most of May and early June. In mid June, widespread scattered rainfall was received in most of the production regions and the crop has improved considerably, Ford says. The northern part of the country received good rains in June and July. This will improve soil moisture conditions in advance of planting the winter crop of dark red kidney and blackeye beans, Ford says.

The 2001 crop got off to a fairly good start. However dry weather in the last 45 days leading up to harvest and then frost and even snow in some areas has dramatically changed the outlook for alubia, black and cranberry beans, Frost says.

Industry sources estimate Argentinas alubia bean supply at 95,000 MT, including an exportable surplus of 80,000 MT from this years harvest. Damage levels in this years harvest range between 25% and 27%, instead of a normal 15%; while the beans are somewhat smaller in size than normal. A large portion of the alubia bean crop was struck by frost, but markets are waiting to see how much merchandise has been damaged. Approximately 40,000 MT of alubia beans were presold to Europe and buyers are waiting to see what the quality is like before making additional purchases.

This tempered prices. If (quality) is acceptable the market will likely move lower, Ford says, or at best remain flat. If the quality is not good and end users start to cancel contracts the market may move higher.

Quality problems with Argentinas alubia bean crop could help North American Great Northern bean exporters, especially in markets such as Algeria. That country imports around 120,000 MT of pulses annually, including lentils, peas, chickpeas and beans.

Clancy is editor of STAT, a specialty crop marketing newsletter. Contacts are phone: (604) 535-8505; website:; mailing address: PMB 803, 250 H St., Blaine, WA 98230




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