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Farmers are selling soybeans two years in advance in rare trade

August 25, 2020, 12:00 AM UTC

Farmers in Brazil, the world’s biggest soybean producer and exporter, are locking in sales two years in advance with prices in the real rising to a record.

The institute of agribusiness in Mato Grosso, the top state grower, said 1.3% of the production for reaping in 2022 was sold at the end of July amid a murky outlook for economies and currencies.

Selling crops for delivery in two years “is unprecedented,” Daniel Latorraca, a superintendent at Imea, the state’s rural economy institute, said in a telephone interview.

The majority of the sales are related to barter trading with farmers getting fertilizers and chemicals before planting in exchange for part of the harvest.

Domestic soybean prices in Brazil rose to a record as the real slumped against the dollar and oilseed demand picked up. This year, the real has posted the biggest drop among major currencies, while ending oilseed stocks this season are expected to decline to an an all-time-low after exports climbed to the highest ever.

Farmers sold 43% of the 2020-21 crop through Aug. 7, compared with a 16% historical level, according to figures from Safras & Mercado, a consulting firm.

“Farmers are trying to reduce the uncertainties, and the foreign exchange rate is one of them,” Safras analyst Luis Fernando Roque said.