The Americas region is home to a population of 303 million and represents 6 percent of the world GDP with an average GDP growth of 3.5 percent. Mexico and Canada are key stable markets and Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela are key growth markets for U.S. Soy. The other countries are stable markets, although U.S. Soy faces increasing competition from South American soy.
Markets for soybean meal and soybean oil are growing, despite some swine and poultry health issues. Economic growth is promoting production growth and the region is seeing an increased demand for meat, poultry meat and eggs. The Americas region continues to be dependent on imports of grains and oil seeds.
The Americas region is the largest U.S. market for soybean meal (51 percent of total U.S. soybean meal exports), soybean oil (84 percent of total U.S. soybean oil exports), soy ingredients and the second largest for whole soybeans (9 percent of total U.S. soybean exports). This region imports from the U.S. year round and represents up to 84 percent of U.S. exports of soybean meal during the months of April to September in any given market or fiscal year, a fact that helps keep the U.S. crush plants crushing twelve months a year.
All categories of U.S. soybean product exports to this region have grown significantly in FY15 as compared to FY14. U.S. soybean exports are up 24 percent, soybean meal exports are up 13 percent and soybean oil exports are up 38 percent. The U.S. exports trends for some of the largest markets within the region continue to show growth; soybean meal exports to Mexico are up 13 percent and soybean oil up 22 percent YTD for FY15 vs. the same period of FY14. U.S. Soy exports to Colombia and Guatemala have experienced the greatest growth in FY15. In the case of Colombia, soybean exports are up 254 percent, soybean meal exports are up 137 percent and soybean oil is up 66 percent, assisted by the free trade agreement (FTA) between Colombia and the United States. Exports to Guatemala have also grown; soybeans are up 223 percent, soybean meal is up 6 percent and soybean oil is up 53 percent. Soybean meal exports to Panama are up 53 percent vs. FY13. There is increased competition for soybean products from other origins and alternative products in all cases (e.g. oil and meals).
Soybean exports to Canada are up 31 percent, soybean meal down 27 percent and soybean oil down 53 percent YTD FY15 vs. same period FY14. Soybeans are replacing soybean meal and soybean oil, as a result of increased crush capacity and better economics in crushing vs. importing meal and oil.
Spreading the word about the quality and sustainability of U.S. Soy is critical in this region, as biotech has become an increasingly political issue in Mexico with social media yielding increased negative comments about soy. South American soy imports also remain competitive.
Continued investment in promotion, consumer education and public relations is critical to grow and defend the U.S. soybean oil market share in the Americas Region, given the increased proportion of total U.S. soybean oil exports as exports to this region, as well as increased competitive pressure from other origins and other edible oils.
The USSEC Americas team recently took part in the 2017 International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta, as part of their animal utilization mission to the U.S. Over 31,000 poultry, meat, and feed industry leaders from all over the world visited IPPE. The 2017 IPPE featured 1,273 exhibitors and just over 8000 international visitors from 129 countries, with Canada having the largest representation with almost 1,400 attendees. The largest regional representation, however, came from the Caribbean, Mexico, and South America, adding up to 3,226 visitors, showing the strength and interest of the related industries in the Americas Region.
USSEC participated by having multiple regions represented and through various activities. The presence at the booth of U.S. Soy grower leaders, staff, and consultants from diverse regions allowed for animated discussions and interactions with visitors and industry representatives from multiple countries as well as exposing them to the U.S. Soy advantage and communicating the U.S. Soy sustainability message. This all translated to a prime opportunity for USSEC to continue building a strong preference for U.S. Soy.
The USSEC Americas team was represented by Gerardo Luna, Pedro Lora, and Belinda Pignotti, who, prior to the event, worked closely with the local Foreign Agricultural Services (FAS) and U.S. Department of Trade Representations Foreign Commercial Service (FCS) representatives in the Americas to promote the registration of more than 750 contacts, all of whom were told about USSEC’s booth and encouraged to participate in USSEC activities during the event.
While attending IPPE, USSEC Americas consultants participated in the animal utilization (AU) contractor meeting held on February 1. Led by USSEC CEO Jim Sutter and Pam Helmsing, USSEC Marketing Director, Animal Utilization & Meal and Acting Asia Sub-Continent Lead, the meeting proved an interesting and useful experience allowing for interaction with contractors from different regions around the globe. Mr. Lora, Ms. Pignotti, and Mr. Luna shared relevant markets’ current conditions, successful experiences throughout the most recent fiscal years, and potential activities to best service stakeholders with U.S. grower leaders and staff.
At IPPE, USSEC hosted a luncheon where USSEC consultant Dr. Gonzalo Mateos presented a technical lecture, “Have You Checked Your Soybean’s Pedigree Lately? – Evaluating the Nutritive Value of Soybean Meal in Poultry Diets.” More than 120 people, including direct customers and lead industry association representatives, as well as FAS, FCS officials, and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) cooperators from more than 20 countries, attended this event. USSEC staff and contractors all collaborated in hosting such a distinguished group of guests.
Although the Americas region did not sponsor a group of industry representatives, prior to the event, consultants worked very closely with the local FAS and FCS representatives in the Americas, who did co-sponsor relevant attendees. Efforts by the regional team included promoting the registration of more than 750 contacts, namely from Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru. These contacts were all previously informed of USSEC’s booth and its location, and were specifically invited to USSEC’s luncheon. The Americas regional consultants arranged for two major specialized media to cover and report on the event and to have Dr. Mateos interviewed, thus resulting in a strong support of the distribution of information on USSEC and the technical content of conference.
“IPPE was a great experience that involved team work and crossing the efforts amongst consultants from different regions,” said Mr. Luna. “We all enjoyed interacting with visitors from all over the world and introducing our regional customers to the grower leaders. Our customers enjoyed talking with them and our ‘neighbors’ from SoyMeal InfoCenter, which provided ideas for potential activities.”
He continued, “Our team really enjoyed the opportunity to service our membership, both exporters and allied classes, and to provide them with specific information, contact leads, and market references and updates. Our conversations with them on their specific interests and capacities allowed us to better suggest contacts and better target their efforts.”
Leading up to and during the Free Trade Agreement between the U.S. and Colombia, USSEC – Americas has worked on a number of projects promoting the usage of U.S. soybean oil to importers, refiners, end users and consumers.
With the new long-range strategic plan (LRSP), the direction has changed to build more demand and value in the marketplace. Buyers at oil refineries have shown increased interest in USSEC’s new projects, and 100 percent of all soybean oil refining companies have committed to the 1st U.S. Soybean Oil Risk Management conference.
In this fiscal year, U.S. soybean oil exports to Colombia have grown from 25,400 metric tons (MT) to 54,600 MT, or approximately 115 percent above last year at this time. Colombia is now the third highest importer of U.S. soybean oil in the world and U.S. imports are expected to increase.
Executive presidents from the Venezuelan Feed Association (AFACA); Poultry Federation (FENAVI); and Swine Federation (FEPORCINA); in addition to institutional representation from Grupo La Caridad, the country’s largest animal integrator; Protinal/Proagro, the second largest animal integrator; Mayupan, the largest turkey producer in Venezuela; and Alconca/Ovomar, and Venezuela’s largest egg cooperative); and FAS Caracas officials attended a trade luncheon hosted by USSEC Americas.
One of the meeting’s main topics was the serious supply problem the industry is facing with the lack of foreign currency flow and availability. From June through September 2016, the industry contributed with a temporary “relief” by importing raw materials at a free dollar exchange rate, but this is no longer sustainable. From now on, all imports of raw materials will be made by the government’s purchasing agency only. According to this group, there is some local corn to last until February 2017, but the government will have to resolve the supply of soybean meal. The group stated that they foresee the sector shrinking by 20 percent of what used to be a regular production of 6 million metric tons (MMT) of feed up until 2015.