Argentine Grain Truckers on Strike, Exporters Turn to Stockpiles


Argentine grain truckers started an open-ended strike on Monday over hauling rates, according to a union spokesman, underscoring the difficulty of reaching wage agreements in a country with double-digit inflation.

The strike was not expected to immediately affect shipments from Argentina, one of the world's biggest soybean and corn exporters, but could start to bite as stockpiles are depleted.

"It's a nationwide strike," Pablo Agolanti, vice president of the Fetra haulers union, said in a telephone interview.

Industry sources said the strike would have to last for days for exports to be interrupted. They said exporters had enough stockpiles to keep international grains shipments moving on Monday as negotiations over hauling rates continued.

Argentina is the world's top exporter of soymeal livestock feed, its No. 3 soybean supplier and No. 4 exporter of corn.

"Export companies have ample grains reserves already at port," said Guillermo Rossi, a market analyst at the Rosario grains exchange.

Soybean stockpiles are bigger than corn reserves at the moment, as virtually all of Argentina's 2015/16 soy crop has been harvested, Rossi said. An extended strike could slow corn harvesting due to limited on-farm corn storage capacity.

The size of the country's soy crop is estimated by the exchange at 53.3 million tonnes, with corn expected to come in at 27.0 million.

Argentine monthly consumer prices rose 3.1 percent in June, easing from May's figure but still above market forecasts as the government fights to tame one of the world's highest inflation rates.



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