From the 10 years prior to 2018/19, global soybean exports nearly doubled in volume with annual growth averaging 7.5 million tons. Much of this growth was centered on China where import growth averaged 5.6 million tons annually, accounting for nearly 80 percent of soybean trade growth.
With the arrival of African Swine Fever in China in mid-2018 along with the ongoing trade dispute, a steady decline in China’s soybean import volume has been observed with imports currently forecast to reach 83 million tons in 2018/19, 11 million tons below 2017/18.
If not for the increase in demand from other markets, spurred in part by lower prices, the current trend in global soybean trade would have turned negative.
Consequently, this slowing demand, coupled with large crops and stock building has led to soybean prices running 10 percent below even a few years ago. Given the potential for slow demand growth in China, rising soybean production in Brazil, and extensive stocks primarily in the United States, the prospect for soybean prices again approaching $10/bu ($370/ton) is greatly diminished.