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India signs deals to export up to 400,000 tonnes new season soymeal

MUMBAI: India has sold 350,000 to 400,000 tonnes of new-crop soymeal for shipment between October and December on prospects of higher soybean production and a weak rupee, an industry official said. 

India, Asia's top soymeal exporter, struck deals at $440 to $480 per tonne, free-on-board basis, amid volatility in the 
rupee that hit a record low last week, said Rajesh Agrawal, chief co-ordinator at Soybean Processors Association of India, a trade body. 

"Buyers are mainly south East Asian countries and 
Iran," he said. 

A senior industry official last week told Reuters that India's soybean production is likely to rise by as much as 18 percent to a record 13.34 million tonnes in 2013/14 from the year before on the back of higher area. 

But heavy rainfall in the top soybean producing central state of 
Madhya Pradesh in the last five days and forecast of more rainfall in the next three days raised concerns over the output. 

"There won't be damage to crop as it has already grown, but on productivity front there would be some losses. Yields would be lower due to lack of sunshine," Agrawal said. 

Soybean production would be higher than last year, but there will not be a sharp rise in the output that industry was earlier expecting because of an expansion in soybean acreage, he said. 

As of Aug. 22, there were 12.18 million hectares devoted to soybean cultivation in India compared with 10.64 million hectares a year earlier, farm ministry data showed last week.