A staggering 1.55 billion soy consumers reside in the North Asian countries and the region 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 880 million and is led by China, which has a goal of moving a further 300 million consumers from rural lifestyles to urban lifestyles and incomes in the next 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.
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.
The crushing sectors in Japan and Taiwan both increased their imports of commodity soybeans. In Japan, imports of U.S. soybeans increased 11 percent, equivalent to over 6.9 million bushels, and increasing the U.S. market share to over 65 percent. In Taiwan, the 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.
Exports of value-added IP soybeans to the North Asia region continue to chalk up successes. In Japan, the market share for U.S. soybeans in the food sector increased to 48 percent in 2014, with an increased volume of over 918,000 bushels of value-added U.S. soybeans. This increase in Japanese demand comes after nearly ten years of committed marketing efforts in Japan to reclaim market share lost to Canada and other suppliers. In Korea, USSEC’s efforts working with various industry segments to utilize U.S. soybean tariff rate quotas (TRQ) under the Korea-U.S. FTA has led to a 95 percent utilization of this preferential TRQ.
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Current North Asia News
USSEC conducted the 15th U.S. Soy Trade Price Risk Management Training on April 25 and 26 in Shanghai, China. Susan Sutherland of USSEC member CME / Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) and Bell Chen from USSEC member R. J. O’Brien provided training to a total of 45 trainees, soymeal sales managers from top U.S. soybean importing companies or soybean meal purchasing managers from top U.S. soybean importers’ preferred customer feed millers. USSEC Country Director – China Xiaoping Zhang participated in this activity and promoted the U.S. Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP) and the U.S. Soy Advantage, particularly amino acid profile, to the audience during his opening and closing remarks.
In the soybean meal business, basis contract is becoming more popular, which has closely tied soybean meal sales and purchases with futures markets on the Dalian Commodity Exchange (DCE) and CME/CBOT. Just recently, DCE launched the first futures option contract in China’s futures trading history, i.e. options on soybean meal futures. Such market and risk management tools are so new to the majority of the feed industry that the timing is right to provide training on elementary futures trading to the industry. Additionally, an overall market outlook and case study were provided to the audience to help them better understand different market influencing factors, and hands-on practices were provided through a simulation for the audience to enhance their knowledge and skills of price risk management tools and economic effects. The audience regarded the evaluation and discussion of the strategies they used during different pricing stages in the simulation to be very valuable.
As in previous years, this program received strong support from CME/CBOT by recommending professional trainers and training materials. Tina Liao, director of client development and sales, based in Singapore, traveled to this event and provided assistance in educating the audience on futures and options basics.
USSEC Marketing Program Manager – China Yantian Zeng and Marketing Program Assistant Binbin Du organized the program and similar previous programs, which have all been well received by participants.