Global soymeal prices have also been driven up by tightening supplies following a drought in South America and expectations of lower soybean plantings in the United States. The benchmark US soymeal futures this week climbed to highest since August 2009, to around $396.6 a short ton.
Indian exporters are negotiating more deals and there are expectations that soymeal contracts for another 200,000 to 250,000 tons will be signed in the coming weeks, trade sources in Singapore and New Delhi said on Friday.
As a result of Iranian purchases, the premium of Indian soymeal to rival South American cargoes has widened to at least $40 a ton in Southeast Asia.
Typically, Indian soymeal is quoted $10 to $15 below Latin American cargoes to win business in some of its top markets such as Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan and South Korea.
"Indian meal is now out of reach for most buyers in Asia because of the Iranian demand," said another Singapore trader. "Indian soymeal is more expensive on FOB basis than what it costs to get Argentine meal delivered into Asia."
India has already shipped out about 175,000 to 200,000 tons, the head of a Mumbai-based export firm said.
The soymeal cargoes are scheduled to be shipped to Iran from April to June.
Iran is estimated to import 1.8 million tons of soymeal in 2011/12, up from 1.7 million shipped a year ago, according to the US Department of Agriculture.
"Despite domestic demand being healthy and good realization from the local market, traders are busy signing deals with buyers in Iran to make the best of it," said Rajesh Agrawal, coordinator at Soybean Processors Association of India.
"In the next couple of month, exports could be 100,000 tons a month."