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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)



2019/20 *forecast

2020/21 *forecast



























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