Costs hit $224mn as Argentina’s Parana River levels fall to 50-year low

Argentina’s Parana River water depth has hit levels not seen in the last five decades, slowing down grain loadings and logistics at the nation’s key water way, costing the local grain industry $244 million in the last four months, the Rosario Board of Trade (BCR) said. Argentina and Brazil have been in talks to release water from the Brazilian Baixo Iguacu dam to improve the water level but with limited success thus far. Argentina is the world’s third largest soybean and corn exporter, as well as the number one exporter of soymeal and soyoil.

Argentine farmer wheat sales surge as 2020/21 trading gets underway

New crop wheat sales were 457,000 mt versus 56,000 mt in the same week of 2019, but corn and soybean sales remained slow after a wave of selling and export licence applications came in the final four months of 2019. Total crop sales in the week ending April 15 came in at 1.83 million mt, up 230,000 mt on the previous week, but down close to 1 million mt on the 2.77 million mt contracted in 2019. According to the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange (BAGE), farmers are expected to plant a total of 6.7 million ha with wheat for the 2020/21 crop. This was up 1.5% from the previous year, owing to attractive wheat prices and poorer returns for barley - the main rival for Argentina's wheat acreage.

Energy demand in industry and construction fell by more than 75%

The consulting firm Ecolatina analyzed, which are the items in which the demand for electric energy has fallen the most. The construction sector consumed 82% less electricity compared to the first 19 days of March. The textile industry demanded 80% less energy, and the non-automotive metal products sector dropped its consumption by 76%. The automotive sector -75%, and the trade and services sector used 49% less.

The BCRA’s International Reserves dropped $49 million on Monday.

The BCRA's International Reserves fell by $49 million at the beginning of the week to $43,648 million. In the informal currency market, the blue dollar closed Monday at 118 pesos. Since the beginning of the mandatory quarantine decreed by the government, the unofficial dollar accumulated a jump of 32.5 pesos (on March 20 it had closed at 85.5 pesos). Dollars trading in the stock market accelerated their upward march this Monday, with increases of up to 5 pesos and prices that surpassed 115 pesos. The exchange rate gaps have already broken the critical barrier of 70%.