Pricey protein: Asia feedlots caught short by soymeal rally
* Soymeal prices climb almost 40 pct in less than a month
* Buyers, traders on wrong side of surging prices
* Several China buyers yet to fix prices for booked cargoes
* Vietnam buys hand-to-mouth, seen most vulnerable to rally
By Naveen Thukral
SINGAPORE, May 13 (Reuters) - Several Asian traders and end-users of soymeal will be forced to pay sharply more for the key animal feed ingredient after being wrong-footed by an almost 40-percent surge in prices in less than a month.
Crop-damaging rains in major soy grower Argentina and a drop in potential U.S. plantings began pushing prices higher from early April, with the rally fanned as hedge funds flipped a record net short position in March to a 54,000-contract long position.
But, until a U.S. Department of Agriculture report on Tuesday that slashed the outlook for major exporters' year-end soybean inventories, traders and feed mills had largely stuck to the view that world supplies would remain ample.
"A lot of trading houses were calling this rally wrong before the USDA report. Now they have had their faces ripped off," said an Australia-based agricultural commodities analyst, declining to be identified as he was not authorised to speak with media. Continuación...