Trade

U.S. Soybean Shipments Remain Diverse Despite Return of China

Weekly Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) export data for the final week of February showed that, despite the return of major U.S. soybean shipments to state-owned Chinese buyers in the month, the percentage share of Chinese shipments remained below each of the past two years. The chart that follows shows that according to weekly FAS data, 37 percent of U.S. soybean shipments in February were destined for China. This was more than twice January shipments of just 15 percent. While trending higher, the proportion of shipments to China remains well behind the previous two years. The diminishing bars for the April through July timeframes represent the typical annual pattern for Chinese demand to shift from the U.S. to new-crop Brazilian soybeans.

Ongoing trade negotiations between the U.S. and China in recent months have re-shuffled the typical trade routes for the world soybean market year. This feature has enabled soybean interests, such as the U.S. Soybean Export Council, help to spread the benefits of U.S. soybean supplies around the world. The following chart shows the monthly history of U.S. soybean shipments to non-Chinese buyers. The surge in February shipments of U.S. soybeans totaled 8.7 million tonnes. Of the total, nearly 5.5 million tonnes went to destinations other than China. This was the second-highest total in the past 26 months, just shy of 5.6 million tonnes in November 2018. With ample domestic soybean supplies remaining in the U.S., exporters will have plenty of supplies to further penetrate new markets for U.S. soybeans.

Source: FAS Export Sales Data Jan 2017-Feb. 28 2019
Rob Hatchett
Rob Hatchett

Senior Economist

Farm Journal Media