European markets have increased U.S. soybean imports by millions of bushels
By Diego Flammini
New export markets have emerged for U.S. soybeans while America and China remain entangled in a trade war.
American soybean and soybean meal exports to Europe, the Middle East and North Africa (EU and MENA) are up by 243 percent and 105 percent, respectively, during the marketing year that began Sept. 1, Brent Babb, regional director for the U.S. Soybean Export Council, said during the EU/MENA Regional Trade Exchange in Barcelona, Spain.
Egypt, Spain, Netherlands, Italy and Portugal have each increased U.S. soybean imports by between 10 and 30 million bushels this marketing year, the U.S. Soybean Export Council said.
The trade war with China has led to the export opportunities in the EU and MENA regions.
Brazil, whom used to rely on Europe for most of its soybean exports, is now China’s main soybean supplier. Brazilian soybeans are also receiving a premium of US$89 per metric ton, which makes U.S. soybeans more attractive to customers in the EU and MENA regions.
Drought conditions in Argentina are also turning customers towards U.S. soybeans.
But despite those factors, the U.S. needs China, said Moe Agostino, chief commodity strategist with Farms.com Risk Management.
American soybean exports to China fell by 94 percent in 2018 due to the ongoing trade stalemate. The only way for markets to fully rebound is to regain access to China, Agostino said.
“China is the elephant in the room,” he told Farms.com. “The markets in Europe and that part of the world are small buyers compared to what the U.S. was shipping to China. They just don’t compare.
“China has bought some U.S. beans recently and there are reports they may buy more.”