May 2, 2014
China's huge soy demand fuel US, Brazil and Argentina's exports
Soy exports have experienced a dramatic increase over the years since 1979. In that year, soy exports were 23.8 million tonnes, increasing to an estimated 41.0 million tonnes for the 2013 crop year. For soymeal, the increase over that period was from 7.2 million tonnes to 9.9 million tonnes. Soyoil saw a decline in exports from 1.2 million tonnes to 0.7 million tonnes over the same period of time.
All countries, excluding the US and China, imported 48.2 million tonnes of soy complex in 1979. For the 2013 crop year, it is estimated that these countries will import 100.6 million tonnes of soy complex. Since 2000, these imports have increased by 1.4 million tonnes per year, a rate far below that of China. Since 2006 the import of soy complex by countries other than China has hit a plateau, making the livelihood of millions of soy farmers very dependent upon China.
The peak for wheat exports occurred in 1981, with 49 million tonnes leaving US ports. In the years since then, wheat exports fell below 27 million tonnes seven times. Wheat exports are currently estimated to be just less than 32.7 million tonnes for the 2013 crop year--⅔ of their 1981 level.
The exports for sorghum, barley and rice are far smaller than corn, wheat and soy and only rice has seen an increase.