The National Oilseed Processors Association  (NOPA) monthly crush report released on Monday morning confirmed domestic soybean  demand remained strong during December, supporting USDA’s decision to raise its 2012-2013 U.S. crush forecast by 2.2% in Friday’s monthly supply/demand update.
NOPA pegged its members’ December soybean crush at 159.9 million bushels, up 2.6 million from November and 14.5 million bushels, or 10%, from December 2011.
The NOPA estimate was on the low side of trade expectations that averaged 161 million bushels in a range from 159.1 million to 162.0 million, but that certainly did not stop soybean futures from rallying sharply on Monday.
Through the first four months of the 2012-2013 marketing year, the NOPA crush totaled 590.4 million bushels, 52.2 million bushels, or 9.7%, above a year earlier.
USDA on Friday raised its forecast for the 2012-2013 U.S. crush by 35 million bushels to 1.605 billion bushels, but that estimate still represents a 5.8% decline from the 2011-2012 U.S. crush of 1.703 billion bushels.
The increase in the U.S. crush figure largely offset the 44-million-bushel increase USDA made in its 2012 U.S. soybean crop estimate, keeping supplies very tight relative to usage. The projected U.S. soybean stocks/usage ratio is little changed at a very tight 4.4% vs. the 4.3% projected in December.
USDA cited stronger projected domestic soybean meal consumption and increase soybean meal imports for reasons for raising the crush. Domestic soybean meal consumption was raised in line with projected gains in meat output, particularly for pork and poultry.
The NOPA report also confirmed a build-up in U.S. soybean oil stocks during December in line with trade expectations. NOPA pegged its members’ end-December soybean oil stocks at 2.600 billion pounds, up 9% from 2.385 billion a month earlier and up 34% from 1.938 billion pounds a year earlier.
The December NOPA soyoil yield strengthened to 11.66 lbs./bu. from 11.64 lbs. in November and 11.36 a year earlier.
In contrast, soybean meal output was limited by a declining yield. The December NOPA soymeal yield came in at 47.47 lbs./bu., down from 47.64 lbs. in November and 47.86 lbs. a year earlier.
Editor’s note: Richard Brock, Corn & Soybean Digest's marketing editor, is president of Brock Associates, a farm market advisory firm, and publisher of The Brock Report.