Efforts Continue to Cultivate Brazilian MarketMarch 17, 2017
The poor 2015/16 Brazilian dry bean harvest caused carioca prices to nearly triple from January (first harvest) to August 2016, reaching close to $2,500/MT. There was some elasticity reported by analysts and traders, with black bean purchases increasing due to the carioca shortfall. But 2017 is a different year and Carioca prices are falling with the successful Brazilian first season harvest of 2016/17 (December 2016-February 2017). The second and third carioca harvests are expected to be smaller and in September and October a window of opportunity may open for US pinto bean exports. Since transportation takes 45 days, the beans need to ship early enough to arrive at the right time and avoid the start of the first 2017/18 production season. Carioca prices sometimes rise in April-May, which could also be a window of opportunity for US pinto beans. Black beans are a very different story than cariocas as their availability and price are not just dependent on internal production, carryover and sales, but are strongly influenced by exchange rates and the availability and cost of imports. Therefore, even though production does not keep pace with demand, the availability of external supply somewhat moderates price volatility, except when there is limited worldwide supply, as seen in 2016. Black beans are imported every year with considerable variability year-to-year. Argentina supplies most of Brazil’s black bean demand.
Because 2016 was a game changing year for the U.S. and we were able to export both black beans and pinto beans to Brazil, we believe that we can establish a permanent foothold in the Brazilian market. In 2016, a variety of packagers and food manufacturers had the chance to see, taste or use U.S. black beans and U.S. pintos. Those we met were impressed with the quality, but, not surprisingly, said that buying from the US is only practical when the price is competitive. Despite a better market outlook in Brazil this year for beans, there is ongoing interest among importers, packagers and food service. Food manufacturers and retailers also want to learn more about U.S. dry beans, different types, pricing, reliability of supply, quality, how long it takes to cook them. USDBC will continue to build on this emerging interest and attention to increase awareness of US dry bean characteristics and options, to identify opportunities for importing US dry beans to meet market demand and where possible and appropriate, to join forces with local industry to educate consumers about the benefits of nutritious, versatile, economical and sustainable dry beans.Posted in: Bean Bulletin