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– This is the script of CNBC's news report for China's CCTV on May 9, Monday.
Welcome to CNBC Business Daily, I'm Qian Chen.
Argentina's and Brazil's agricultural industries are going through a rough patch after bad weather hit two key crops - soybeans and corn. But nobody in the United States is complaining.
"It was a case of too wet in Argentina and too dry in Brazil," said David Streit, founder and COO of Commodity Weather Group, a forecasting service in Washington.
The adverse weather in South America, coupled with heavy fund buying, has lifted U.S. corn and soy-related futures in the past month. At the same time, the dollar has weakened since the end of March, making U.S. ag exports more competitive again.
"It's been a gift to the U.S. farmer," said Farha Aslam, a New York-based food analyst at wealth management firm Stephens. She noted strong corn exports out of the U.S. over the last two weeks. That's a reversal from the first quarter, when there was weak U.S. export activity for corn and soybeans.
The El Nino weather phenomenon is to blame for some of the problems in South America.
In Argentina, early April rains interrupted the soybean harvest and flooded nearly a third of soy farms. The northeast region of the country had 8 to 20 inches of rain from El Nino-related storms, and experts believe the damage is irreversible this season.
Argentina's soybean crop - the world's third largest - may face a drawdown of 15%, according to climate experts.
In Brazil, there were 40 to 50 days of dry and sometimes hot weather conditions during a critical time when the so-called safrinha crop (or second-season corn) was coming into the pollination stage.
Commodity Weather Group estimates Brazil probably lost as much as 10 percent of the crop yield potential due to the arid conditions.
Brazil, the main soybean and corn competitor to the United States, exported so much of the corn crop that its livestock producers were short corn.
Brazil is now having to import corn, and overseas buyers originally looking to get Brazil's corn will likely need to turn to U.S. supplies.
(HB-July corn futures)
July corn futures have climbed more than 9 percent in the past month. Last Friday, the most active corn futures contract ended up slightly to close at $xxx per bushel; the commodity is about 9 percent higher over the last month.
That bump is welcome relief for American farmers struggling with low prices that have kept them below break-even levels for some time.
As for soybean futures, prices are up about 13 percent in the past month and 20 percent in the last two months.
Both corn and soybeans may be close to the end of their runs, however.
"Ag export reports are becoming critical factors in driving the market right now, because it's become such an important part of the grain story," said Aslam. "I would say two months ago they were just much more of a nonevent."
CNBC's Qian Chen, reporting from Singapore.
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