US bean exports to China sink 25% on Brazil record crop

26.03.2018

Chinese imports of US soybeans fell by 25% in February compared with the same month a year earlier as Brazil's bumper crop displaced US farmer supply, customs data showed Monday.

China imported 5.42 million mt of soybeans in February, with the US taking a 3.345 million mt market share versus 1.75 million mt from Brazil.

Those figures compare to a year earlier when the US exported 4.4 million mt versus Brazilian supply of 687,000 mt and show that the US is losing market share following Brazil's record crop of 114 million mt last year.

The announcement also comes at a time of tense trade relations between the US and China.

Over the weekend, Reuters reported that China's former finance minister said the government should act against US soybean imports as retaliation for US proposed taxes on $60 billion worth of Chinese goods.

And in a separate statement, Xinhua news agency reported that China's top trade minister Vice-Premier Liu spoke by phone to US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to warn him that "China is prepared to defend its national interests."

China is expected to import 100 million mt this marketing year, the USDA said last week.

That compares with total international trade of about 150 million mt and US supply of 56 million mt.

That dynamic, which also takes into account the likelihood of a second successive record Brazilian crop, has made analysts sceptical that China would tax soybeans as it would struggle to find supply elsewhere.

Chinese imports so far this calendar year have reached 13.9 million mt - up 5.4% on the first two months of last year.


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