September 20, 2011


Southeast Asia's soy demand to double in the next 10 years


Boosted by demand from fish farms eyeing to feed China, soy imports to SE Asia may double in the next 10 years, the US Soybean Export Council said Monday (Sep 19).


A research report said that after Japan, China was the largest consumer of seafood last year.


China consumed about 694 million tonnes of ocean resources each year, compared with 582 million tonnes by Japan and 349 million tonnes by the US, which ranked third for production and consumption.


"A whole area that is new and different that we see, is the whole aquaculture area - the growth of fish industries," Chief Executive Officer Jim Sutter, told Reuters on the sidelines at the SE Asia US Agricultural Co-operators Conference. "China today is the world's largest producer of fish... A huge consumer of fish," he said adding that China now exports some of what they produce.


"Forecasts would tell you, that in the years to come, all the fish that they are producing, they're going to consume themselves. They will likely start to import fish to feed their population."


Total Southeast Asian soy meal imports are estimated at 10.8 million tonnes, with the US contributing 2.3 million tonnes, Sutter added.


"I believe a lot of that's going to have to come from Southeast Asia," said Sutter, on future Chinese fish demand, adding that countries like Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia were best placed to meet this demand.


"We could double over the next 10 years -- exports to Southeast Asia, easily on the growth of aquaculture demand," he added.


He added that exports to SE Asia could be doubled over the next 10 years.


In the near-term, US Agriculture Department estimated soy production at 3.085 billion bushels, compared with trade estimates for 3.032 billion bushels and its August estimate of 3.056 billion.


The US consumes about 45% of the soy it produces, mostly used by the livestock industry, with the remainder exported.


November soy contract was down 0.7 % to US$13.46 a bushel at 0952 GMT.


"I don't have an axe to grind with the USDA numbers," added Missouri-based Sutter. "If anything, maybe slightly higher than the USDA numbers.


"We've had pretty good rains here recently, and that if anything will help the crop. Some people were concerned that they had missed the acreage -- I think that USDA's are pretty accurate."

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