Report: China to maintain increase of US soybean imports

Forecast for next year up 4.5 million tons

The U.S. Agricultural Trade Office in Beijing says it expects China to continue to increase its imports of soybeans though the 2015-16 marketing year, according to the Peoples Republic of China Oilseeds and Products Annual.

The forecast for Chinese imports of soybeans is 77.5 million tons, up 4.5 million tons from the forecast for the current year.

“Driven by price advantage and purchasing convenience … many food processors in the coastal provinces are progressively using more imported soybeans to produce tofu, soy milk and other foods,” the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said. “The direct use of whole soybean as a feed ingredient is also increasing.”

China accounts for 64 percent of the world’s soybean trade, and it is expected to increase its imports as domestic production declines. The country’s projected soybean production for 2015 is 11.7 million tons, down from 12 million tons in 2014.

China’s imports of U.S. soybeans in 2015-16 is forecast at 29 million tons, up from 28 million tons for 2014-15. U.S. share of the Chinese soybean market was forecast at 37 percent in 2015-16, compared with 38 percent in 2014-15 and 2013-14. Brazil’s share of the market was 47 percent in 2013-14.