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Soybean Market Analysis


Soybeans are an important source of protein and vegetable oil used globally. The crop is primarily produced in three country’s: Brazil, US and Argentina. Each of these countries exports raw soybeans and also processes them into usable products, which are then used domestically or exported to different markets around the world. China produces relatively few soybeans but is the largest importer of unprocessed soybeans and possesses the largest domestic process industry.

Key facts about the soybean market:
  • Global soybean production increased steadily during the past decade, driven by China’s increasing demand for the commodity.
  • Global production exceeded 350 million tonnes during the 2018/19 marketing year, driven by yield increases and acreage expansion in Brazil, before falling back below the level this year after a difficult growing season in the US.
  • China accounts for 60% of total global imports and its imports reached a record high of 94 million tonnes in the 2017/18 marketing years, having increased for six consecutive years. 
  • Soybean production in the US has remained relatively flat compared to a decade ago. By comparison, Brazil’s 2020 production forecast to be 70% higher than a decade ago. 

Key themes affecting the soybean market

The soybean industry has been adjusting to a lower global demand environment in recent years that occurred while production levels remained near record high levels. The protein-producing industry in China has been adversely impacted by African Swine Fever – a disease that has cut the country’s hog population and requirement for soybean meal. This development has limited the country’s soybean crush activity and soybean import pace following years of steady growth. Lower Chinese demand and a more competitive supply situation, driven by higher production levels in Brazil, have diminished the volume of soybeans sourced from the US. A smaller US share of the global market has pressured soybean futures that now trade at levels significantly below those seen during the first half of the last decade.

Soybean Exports 1,000 tonnes (Sep/Aug)

2017/18

2018/19

2019/20 *forecast

2020/21 *forecast

Brazil

75.8

75.0

78.6

76.7

US

57.5

47.6

49.0

57.2

Argentina 

3.1 

7.6 

10.2 

5.9 

Paraguay

6.2

5.4

5.3

5.7

Canada

4.9

5.7

3.5

4.8

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IEG Vu’s daily service is the market leader in updates and news on the agricultural commodity and processed food markets, with modular channel access available including the global soybean market. Coverage spans from pricing news and key trends impacting production to incoming legislation and geopolitical impacts to the market. An IEG Vu subscription also includes access to a range of historic data tools covering pricing, trade volumes and production at a granular level.

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IEG Vantage is the only service in the market that provide comprehensive analysis of near-term market developments for the 12 months ahead, from market trends to supply-demand, production and price forecasts. A subscription to our soybean and oilseed channel includes supply and demand balance tables, import and export trade data, price forecasts, US and global acreage and production potential, weather forecasts, price outlooks and summaries of major USDA reports. Subscriptions also include daily market commentary to provide context for daily trading and procurement workflow needs.

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