A staggering 1.424 billion soy consumers reside in the Greater China Region and it boasts a growing middle class that is improving and diversifying its diet with an increased consumption of vegetable and animal protein and vegetable oils derived from soy. This expanding middle class currently numbers over 350 million and China has a goal of moving a further 300 million consumers from rural lifestyles to urban lifestyles and incomes in the next ten to fifteen years. This development trend portends well for increased soy imports and consumption as Chinese consumption of animal protein and vegetable oil among urban consumers is double that of rural consumers.
The crushing sector in Taiwan increased its imports of commodity soybeans. In Taiwan, imports increased by more than 400 million bushels, pushing the market share for U.S. soybeans over 50 percent. Taiwan remains a strong destination for containerized soybeans with over 35 percent of its bulk U.S. soybean imports arriving in Taiwan in containers.
With the increase in urban incomes, it is not surprising that U.S. soy exports of soybeans to China have recorded back-to-back record years exceeding one billion bushels each year. Looking forward, a recently commissioned USSEC research report on future soy consumption and imports indicates annual soybean imports will increase between 110 to 183 million bushels per year for the next five years.