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.