HAMBURG, Germany (B)--The global soybean crop in the 2001-02 season is likely to reach 177.7 million tonnes, up 6.6 million tonnes on the season, Hamburg-based newsletter Oil World said in its first season crop estimate.

It sees the U.S. 2001-02 soybean crop at 80.30 million tonnes (previous season: 75.38 million tonnes). Its first forecast of world soybean crushings in the 2001-02 season is 152.7 million tonnes, up by an above-average 6.9 million tonnes on the season.

"Prospects for the world crop season 2001-02 suggest a strong and rapidly growing demand for soybean oil and meal," the newsletter said. "Owing to the developments shaping up for other oils and oilmeals, it will become necessary to sharply raise crushings of soybeans worldwide again in the second consecutive season."

High demand "will result in rapid marketings of U.S. and South American soybean supplies for the remainder of this season and also next season," it said.

"Total world consumption of soybeans is estimated to approach 178 million tonnes in 2001-02, thus continuing the uptrend of the current season. In our first estimate for next season we place world production of soybeans at 177.7 million tonnes or 6.6 million tonnes more than the previous record achieved in the current season. The U.S. should account for most of the growth, but higher crops are also anticipated for China, India, the EU and--in early 2002--also in Argentina."

Oil World believes U.S. farmers will further increase soybean sowings this spring for the eighth consecutive year mainly because of good income protection provided by the comparatively high U.S. soybean loan. U.S. plantings have made good progress during May but northern hemisphere weather in the next three months will be the key factor for yields, production and prices.

"Due to the strong world demand outlook for soybeans for 2001-02, any major weather problems in key growing areas could create a bullish scenario and lead to a price rally from the current still level," it said. "At the moment soybean prices have incorporated hardly any weather premium."

"The current world demand outlook will not allow the creation of burdensome stocks at the end of next season. Our current projections on production and demand would keep world soybean stocks virtually unchanged at the end of next season. The stocks/usage ratio would even decline."

This is Oil World's first estimate of 2001-02 global soybean demand in million tonnes. The newsletter stresses changes in yields and production could require revisions in coming weeks.

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