The Van Trump Report

U.S. Soy Exports Add Billions to US Economy

US soybeans and products added +$39.8 billion to the US economy in marketing year (MY) 22/23, according to the US Soybean Export Council (USSEC). That includes the “shining star” of the soybean complex, soybean meal, which set new records for both volume and value.

Despite persistent global challenges in 22/23, USSEC says the volume of U.S. whole soybean exports at 54.2 MMT kept pace with the previous five-year average of 54.4 MMT. “The consistency of whole soybean demand is impressive given the challenges our international food, feed, and retail customers continue to face,”  notes Jim Sutter, Chief Executive Officer of USSEC.

Meanwhile, increased volume and higher prices saw U.S. soybean meal exports increase in value by +39% over the five-year average (MY 17/18 – MY 21/22) to a record $6.91 billion. Total soybean meal export volume was also a record at 13.2 MMT.

The top five markets by volume for U.S. soybean meal exports in MY22/23 were the Philippines (2.15 MMT), Mexico (1.66 MMT), Colombia (1.45 MMT), Canada (1.2 MMT), and European Union (EU) (0.816 MMT)

Soybean oil exports, by contrast, dipped -82% from the five-year average to 171,500 MT. This largely reflects the increased domestic demand for sustainable aviation fuel and other renewable fuels.  “This was not a surprise and reflects the investment in renewable fuels we see increasing in the United States,” says Sutter.

Looking at the total U.S. Soy complex, the top 5 markets during MY 22/23 were China (31 MMT), Mexico (6.6 MMT), EU (6.4 MMT), Japan (2.7 MMT) and the Philippines (2.3 MMT). USSEC also highlights significant growth form Vietnam, with total US soy complex imports up +40% at 1 MMT.

In a separate report, USSEC also addressed the outlook for China demand. Based on the current market demand and the situation of South American supply, USSEC expects China will import 30 million metric tons of soybeans from the United States in the latter’s 2024 marketing year (Sept 1, 2023 to Aug 31, 2024), matching the previous year. Zhang Xiaoping, the USSEC’s country director for China, pointed out that China had already imported 20 million tons of U.S. soybeans as of the end of January.

Lance Rezac, vice-chairman of the USSEC, predicts that China’s overall demand for soybeans will drive continued growth in the US soybean trade. From the 2024 marketing year to the 2033 marketing year, China’s total soybean imports, including those from the US, are expected to rise from 101.5 million tons to 134.1 million tons, an average annual growth rate of +3.1%.

China imported 99.41 million tons of soybeans with an import value of 419.89 billion yuan ($58.56 billion) in 2023, representing an +11.4% year-on-year increase in quantity and a +4.8% increase in import value compared to the previous year, data from China’s General Administration of Customs showed.

In a May 26 webinar, Refinitiv’s United States agriculture research manager, Libin Zhou, said the global soybean market is dealing with extremely low inventories in Brazil and the U.S., the world’s top two soybean producing and exporting nations. | File photo

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