US soybean farmers are working new markets now that exports to China have tanked

  • U.S. soybean exports to China this year are expected to be one-third of what they were in the last marketing year, says Jim Sutter, chief executive officer of the U.S. Soybean Export Council.
  • U.S. soybean ending stocks are expected to hit a record high of 1 billion bushels in this marketing year.
  • American farmers are looking for new markets to diversify their consumer base due to the shifting trade landscape.

U.S. soybean growers are targeting new markets as demand from China has plunged dramatically due to the escalating Washington-Beijing trade war.

The world’s two largest economies are locked in a prolonged tariff battle that has dragged on for more than a year. Both countries have slapped additional levies on billions of dollars worth of each other’s goods, and the escalating tensions have spooked markets and hurt the outlook for global economic growth.

That has sent American soybean exports to China falling sharply, with total shipments to the Asian economic giant expected to end this marketing year some two-thirds lower, said Jim Sutter, chief executive officer of the U.S. Soybean Export Council.

“This year our exports to China look like they’ll be a third of what they had been in the last few years, so instead of being 30 million tons like they were last year, it looks like they’ll be around 10 (millions tons) this year…That’s a huge difference,” Sutter told CNBC at the S.E. Asia U.S Agriculture Co‐operators Conference in Singapore.

China is the world’s largest consumer of soybeans and accounted for 60% of U.S. soybean exports before the trade dispute pulled shipment levels down. China made up $5.9 billion in U.S. farm product exports in 2018, according to the U.S. Census.

A further blow came when China confirmed early Tuesday that the country was pulling out of U.S. agriculture as a weapon in the ongoing trade war…

 

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