At the CICILS – World Pulse Confederation meeting in mid-April there was a great panel discussion about the bean market outlook for 2015. The panelists were from the bean growing regions of the world and the discussion began with a presentation by Dr. Randall Fairman, an economist from International Food Trader who has just completed a world supply and demand analysis of the bean market.
In the discussion about the 2014 crop, there was consensus that ending stocks for most bean classes are up, causing prices for 2015 to be 10-20% lower. Both Argentina and China increased their production in 2014 back to average levels after significant crop losses in 2013 which had the largest impact on world production.
Looking ahead to 2015, Argentina’s planted acres are higher than last year. In 2015, Argentina has planted a total of 1.065 million acres including 400,000 acres of alubia beans, 470,000 acres of black beans, 50,000 acres of cranberry beans and 80,000 acres of kidney beans. With over a month left before harvest, the beans are in good condition.
In China, low prices are causing exporters to store beans and will reduce planted acres for 2015. Dark red kidney beans will be the exception as the Chinese have begun to consume this bean class domestically causing planted acres in this market class to remain stable. Chinese annual bean exports average between 500,000 and 800,000 metric tonnes and their spokesperson at the convention indicated they are planning for a very small bean crop in 2015.
Egypt increased production of their winter crop of light red kidney beans in 2013/2014 due to the crop failure in Argentina. This increase in production was coupled with an increase in productivity due to an investment in mechanical sorting. Exports are mainly to the Middle East and Turkey. In 2015, with the decline in price, production in Egypt is expected to drop to 120,000-130,000 MT.
Ethiopia produces 3 million tonnes of pulses annually including white kidney beans, pinto beans and dark red kidney beans. Their production is exported to over 75 countries – Pakistan is the largest importer followed by Sudan, India and Nicaragua. In 2014 they produced 250,000 MT of kidney beans and production and exports are expected to increase in 2015.
Very little change is expected in production here in North America in 2015. With carryout from last year, not many contracts are being signed and prices are down for growers. The planting intention predictions provided at the convention were: pinto bean production down 7-10%, black bean production up 26%, navy bean production up 4-5%, dark red kidney production up 8% in the US and 30% in Canada, cranberry bean production down 5-10%, light red kidney bean production up 5% and small red bean production up 22%.