As Europe Eases Lockdown, Greece Resumes U.S. Soybean Imports, Signaling EU Demand Recovery

By - Tuesday, August 4, 2020

As many European countries ease their lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Greece has resumed U.S. soybean imports in an effort to maintain feed and livestock competitiveness during these unprecedented times. The shipment of U.S. beans arrived in Greece during the first week of June and relaxation measures are expected to allow Greece’s tourism business to reopen and boost animal protein consumption, and, as a result, soybean meal demand.

Like the entire world, Greece’s local industries faced challenges during the second quarter of the year, which will impact meat production over the next few months in terms of personnel safety and logistical and demand perspectives. Despite the current challenges, the Greek feed and poultry industries remain optimistic that meat and egg consumption will resume soon, easing the immense pressure of the past several months.

Greece is strategically located with access to seaports; the country boasts bulk handling facilities and well-organized logistics

 

Two years ago, USSEC resumed its marketing programs in Greece, and thanks to the activities implemented, the feed industry is well aware of the positive attributes of U.S. Soy, particularly its amino acids profile and digestibility, compared to other origins. This should translate into dollar savings in feed formulation and improved animal performances.

 

U.S. soybeans are characterized by better purity and lower free fatty acids levels

 

In addition to better value delivered to customers, U.S. Soy also offers technical support programs to end-users. Soon after resuming activities in Greece, USSEC succeeded in establishing relationships with key poultry integrations with the goal of understanding the needs of the industry and ways to support U.S. soy end-users.

USSEC consultant Dr. Gary Butcher (center) visited Greece in July 2019. He is shown here with Ms. Maria Simitopoulou and Mr. Savvas Dimitriadis, technical managers of Aggelakis Poultry – a key broiler companies in Greece

 

“Even if not the largest market, Greece continues to offer opportunities for U.S. Soy, as part of the increasing demand coming from the growing feed, poultry, and livestock industries from the South East European region. Meantime, with the easing of the lockdown, the EU imports of soybeans and meal could continue to increase as logistical bottlenecks and delays at ports and feed mills levels continue to dissipate,” states USSEC consultant Dr. Iani Chihaia.

“The U.S. was the top supplier for the 2018-2019 marketing year, when total EU soybean imports reached 15 million metric tons (MMT). The Netherlands remained the EU’s top buyer of raw beans, followed by Spain, Denmark, Portugal, and Italy. The European Union remains the world’s largest soybean meal importer and second largest soybean buyer. Because of disrupted trade, the EU’s imports of soybeans underperformed an expected increase until May. However, U.S. soybeans have become more price competitive for the upcoming months because of the dollar weakening and the easing of lockdown measures around the world. The supply constraints from the Southern hemisphere soy production countries during recent weeks due to lower production volumes, increase in export tariffs, and reduced draft levels on the rivers might offer opportunities for U.S. soy exports for the upcoming period and this should be capitalized by the market players,” concluded Dr. Chihaia.