Slow farmer sales to stretch until next year -Bunge CEO
By Tom Polansek
CHICAGO Oct 30 (Reuters) - The slow pace of crop sales by farmers that has hurt two of the world's biggest grain traders will likely stretch into next year, the head of Bunge Ltd said on Thursday.
The forecast for sluggish sales from Chief Executive Officer Soren Schroder may mean that Bunge and agribusiness rivals, including Archer Daniels Midland Co and Cargill Inc, will continue to feel economic pressure from limited supplies despite massive grain harvests in the United States.
U.S. farmers will market larger-than-normal percentages of their newly harvested corn and soybeans next year, as they delay autumn sales because of weak prices, Schroder said in an interview with Reuters.
Normally, U.S. farmers market their grain during the fall harvest, before spring planting, or after the planting is done. But the volumes of grain being sold, Schroder told Reuters, "are shifting a bit in between those three traditional marketing periods."
Schroder's comments came after the company reported lower-than-expected third-quarter earnings due in part to sluggish farmer selling. Bunge buys, sells, transports and processes crops.
In Brazil, growers have marketed only about 10 percent of their new-crop soybeans, compared to the normal level of 30 percent or more, Bunge Chief Financial Officer Drew Burke told analysts on a conference call to discuss earnings.
Argentine farmers are holding soybeans as a hedge against inflation and currency devaluations, he said.
Bunge does not expect to see a pick-up in farmer selling in Brazil or Argentina until early next year "unless there were to be a sizable price or currency movement," Burke said. Continuación...