Recent developments on the global market for soy include soaring prices in the United States and changes in international trade.
The latest prices for soybean in the U.S. reached their highest level since 2012 at $16.61 per bushel. The numbers are higher than initially expected – the projections for season-average price in May indicated $13.85 per bushel compared to $11.25 in the marketing year 2020/2021 and $8.57 per bushel a year before. The soaring soybean prices are the result of explosive demand from China where hog cultivation is rapidly recovering after the pandemic halt.
Global soy production
The projections for the US soybean market in the marketing year 2021/2022 expect lower supplies, a decline in exports, and higher ending stocks compared to the previous year. The US soybean production is expected at 119,88 million metric tonnes compared to 112,55 million a year before. Total soybean exports from the US are expected at 2.1 billion bushels – a decrease by 205 million from 2020/2021. The US share of global soybean trade is projected at 33%, down by 3% from the previous year. The country’s ending stocks for 2021/2022 anticipate a total of 140 million bushels compared to the projections of 120 million bushels a year before.
Global production of soybean is expected at 385.5 million metric tonnes – an increase of over 6% compared to the previous year. The soybean yield forecast from the key global producer – Brazil is 144 million metric tonnes, up by 8 million from 2020/2021 estimates. The projections for global ending stocks in May 2021 are at 91,10 million metric tonnes.
World export of soybean
Total world export of soybean is expected at 172,9 million metric tonnes with lower numbers from the US and increased shipments from Brazil. The latter is projected to deliver 93 million metric tonnes of the product, accounting for 54% of the global share for soybean exports. Brazil is also anticipated to break the record for the largest soybean shipment to the US this year. A total of 238,000 tonnes of Brazilian soybean has already been contracted. In the first four months of 2021, the soybean exports in Brazil increased by 18%.
China – the bigggest soybean buyer
China – the world-leading soybean buyer – is expected to import 103 million metric tonnes of soybean in 2021/2021 – up by 3 million from the previous year. In April, almost 90% of soybean imports from Brazil reached China overturning the low shipments in January and February caused by severe weather conditions delaying cargo arrivals. Between January and March 2021, China imported 21.18 million tonnes of soybean – an increase of 19% compared to the previous year. Over 5 million tonnes of soybeans were shipped from the US to China in January but arrived in the most part only in March due to freight delays.
Europe on the market
On the European market, the imports of soybean to the EU amounted to over 13,16 million tonnes in the marketing year 2020/2021. Between July 2020 and mid-May 2021, Brazil supplied 43.4% of soybean imports to the EU which amounts to 5,71 million tonnes while shipments from the US accounted for 40.4% with 5,32 million tonnes. The deliveries mainly reached the Netherlands, Spain, Denmark, and Italy.
While the predictions for elevated prices persist, the demand coming from China is in question as the country is still battling the African Swine Fever and the soybeans exports for hog feed may potentially decline. The major concerns which may influence the market include further insecurities evoked by the pandemic and unpredictable weather conditions impacting both yields and transportation.