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USDA Oilseed: World Markets and Trade

11 May 2012

USDA Oilseed: World Markets and Trade - May 2012USDA Oilseed: World Markets and Trade - May 2012

Through the end of April, sales of new crop U.S. soybeans totaled a record 9 million tons or 22 percent of the full year 2012/13 export forecast.
USDA Oilseed: World Markets and Trade

While record early season sales have not been indicative of future exports, it does highlight the growing demand for soybean imports by China and their need to ensure adequate supplies. This can be seen in trends over the past 5 years where China’s import demand has grown by 50 percent (20 million tons) while early season purchases of new crop beans through April have risen from near zero to the current 7.1 million tons.

Given the expanding import demand by China, this trend toward greater forward purchasing constitutes a significant change in buying patterns. This is not to say that a tight world supply situation as we have now does not encourage early purchases of new crop beans.

Given the recent crop losses in South America and tight supply situation, US exports are currently forecast at record for 2012/13.


Global soybean production in 2011/12 is lower due to reduced South American crops. Global trade is higher on stronger imports by China. World import demand for soybean meal and oil is marginally lower. US exports are up and the season average farm price is raised to a record.

For 2012/13, prevailing strong prices are expected to lead to a record global soybean production. Import demand is forecast to rise driven by China, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Indonesia. Trade for soybean meal is forecast to expand, while decline for soybean oil. US soybean production and exports are forecast higher. US season average farm price is projected at a new record.

Soybean Prices

US export bids, FOB Gulf, in April averaged $550 per ton, the highest since August 2008, driven by strong foreign demand and tightening stocks.

As of the week-ending April 26, US soybean commitments (outstanding sales plus accumulated exports) to China totaled 21.8 million tons, compared to 25.6 million a year ago. Total commitments to the world are 34.0 million tons compared to 41.0 million for the same period last year.

2012/13 Trade Outlook

  • US soybean exports are forecast to reach a new record of 41.0 million tons, up 5.2 million on expectations of stronger demand and reduced competition from South America.

  • Argentina’s soybean exports are forecast higher at 10.1 million tons, up 1.7 million on an expected larger crop.

  • Brazil’s soybean exports are forecast at 34.2 million tons, down 1.5 million as strong domestic demand reduce trade volume.

  • China’s soybean imports are forecast at a record 61.0 million tons, up 5.0 million to support continued strong demand for crush.

2011/12 Key Trade Changes

  • US soybean exports are up 680,000 tons to 35.8 million supported by a pickup in sales.

  • China’s soybean imports are raised 1.0 million to 56.0 million tons reflecting stronger purchases.

  • Canada’s rapeseed exports are up 300,000 tons to 8.4 million on stronger demand from China.

  • EU-27 soybean meal imports are cut 500,000 tons to 21.9 million on a slower pace.

May 2012

Published by USDA Foreign Agricultural Service

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