I've been down for the morning with one of those pesky server outages. Meanwhile stephen has been back to me with some more info on the soya bean situation in Brazil:
Just a quick comment to say, "nice find" about the soybeans piece in Brazil. The reality on the ground is truly spectacular. When I lived in Curitiba, we were about 100 km from the port of ParanaguÃ¡, mentioned in the article. The truckloads of soybeans would be queued up for more than that distance (110-130km) waiting to get onto the scales and unload. When you drive past km after km of trucks full of soybeans every day for several weeks, you can start to imagine how big the Brazilian crop is. It was little wonder, given the prices received and the exchange rate at planting, that there was a powerful move to get the crop to market, and also little wonder this brought the R$ back up from nearly R$4 to below R$3 to the dollar.
Where I was working, people said that the R$ was undervalued and that it would recover. The sceptic in me said, "no way, this never happens!", and then it did. Lately it seems that the R$ has decoupled just a bit more from the $, such that the weak dollar globally has meant a stronger R$. This past week has seen us below R$2.90 consistently, which is back around the rate I received when I first came to Brazil in July of 2002.