in Agriculture, Economics, R Stats

Soybean Exports Update: Argentina is Buying U.S. Soybeans for the First Time in Recent Years


This week’s commodity export reports were released this morning and it was another abysmal week for sales and inspections. We are headed into the biggest weeks of the marketing year for shipments doing about half what we usually do.

But we all knew that was happening. I thought it would be interesting to look country by country at the export sales and see if the patters are different than usual. Here are the typical top importers of U.S. soybeans. Notice that China usually imports about 10 times as much as the number two country.

Here are the export totals for this year. There are notable increases from Spain, the Netherlands, and Mexico. The biggest standout is Argentina. We haven’t sold any soybeans to Argentina in the recent history – since 2013 anyway.

Argentina is a big soybean crushing country and a large producer of meat. Last year they had a massive drought. I didn’t anticipate them to be buying our soybeans, but they appear to be a big beneficiary of the trade war since they can keep their crushing and livestock industries running with cheap U.S. soybeans.



GIPSA Export Inspection Totals by Country as of Marketing Year Week 7 (Million Bushels)

Destination Total
SPAIN 22.8037709
NETHERLANDS 22.3229009
MEXICO 21.8558914
EGYPT 20.8231712
ARGENTINA 16.8688706
CHINA T 12.0261008
PAKISTAN 10.7353877
IRAN 10.4432818
INDONESIA 10.3609421
VIETNAM 9.9580839
THAILAND 8.5239908
JAPAN 8.0411946
CHINA MAIN 7.9399220
PORTUGAL 7.0811886
SAUDI ARABIA 5.3102327
KOREA REP 4.8521193
ITALY 4.4763561
CANADA 4.0590921
MALAYSIA 3.7124334
TUNISIA 3.2761675
UN KINGDOM 2.7106261
TURKEY 2.5000636
BANGLADESH 2.4161764
PERU 2.1825605
COLOMBIA 2.1741375
COSTA RICA 1.6327707
FRANCE 1.3585854
BELGIUM 0.7410371
CHILE 0.5605461
PANAMA 0.2769523
DOMINICN REP 0.2716757
BARBADOS 0.2021250
BURMA 0.0540000
INDIA 0.0405000
MALDIVES 0.0163929

Here are some charts for several countries. It is worth noting that several Asian and Southeast Asian countries are importing more than usual. There has been a lot of speculation that the same amount of soybeans may still flow to China via some other destinations first. This could be happening a little bit, but the total volume of sales is so low compared to usual that at this rate it cannot be that China is simply getting a similar amount of U.S. soybeans as usual via other countries first.

Note that Argentina only shows sales for 2018/2019 because there were no sales in the prior years.

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