China to become key player in global soybean pricing system


As the global soybean supply pattern undergoes a transformation, the biggest importer - China - is likely to become a key player in a multi-polar pricing system, experts said on Tuesday.

"The current global soybean pricing system, which is dominated by the US' Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT), may become a multi-polar one," Li Guoxiang, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Rural Development Institute, told the Global Times.

For the 2018/19 marketing year from September 2018 to August 2019, China is forecast to consume the equivalent of nearly one-third of every acre of soybeans harvested in the world, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

China is increasing soybean imports from Brazil, Argentina, Canada and Ukraine because the ongoing trade war between China and the US has curbed US exports to China.

"The Dalian Commodity Exchange (DCE) has raised its profile in the global market. China's passive acceptance of CBOT prices is likely to change, because in agricultural trade, buyers have more bargaining power," Li said.

"We could change the global soybean pricing structure," said a partner at a Brazilian agricultural consulting company, speaking at the China International Oils and Oilseeds Conference in Guangzhou, capital of South China's Guangdong Province, in the past week, the China Securities News reported on Monday.

"As the US dollar is fluctuating, we could link the price of soybean futures to the DCE, so that there is a safer and more stable price to stabilize the market," the person said.

The DCE has rolled out futures and options for soybeans and related products, covering the whole industrial chain. Its contracts include futures for soybean meal and soybeans. It launched soybean meal options on March 31, 2017, according to the official website of the DCE.

However, it should also be acknowledged that it still needs some time for China to play a truly equal foot with the internationally dominant organization.

"The DCE provides a solid market foundation for companies to manage risks and institutional investors to allocate assets, but it will take a while for the exchange to become dominant in the global soybean trade," Li noted.

Jiao Shanwei, editor-in-chief of, echoed the opinion, saying that the CBOT's dominant position would not end soon, because international agricultural product transactions are priced in US dollars, and China has not set the stage in terms of financial participation.

"The global soybean trade is happening both in the real economy and the financial world. In terms of the latter, China is not fully prepared," Jiao said.

"As agricultural products become more market-oriented, and links among international markets are further strengthened, Chinese voice in the international markets will definitely increase," Jiao said.

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