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For a decade, the global soybean export market seemed like it could not be stopped.

From 2008 to today, U.S. soybean exports nearly doubled in volume, with an average 7.5 million tons of growth every year.

And then African Swine Fever and a trade dispute with China applied the brakes.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Ag Service released its “Oilseeds: World Markets and Trade” report Aug. 12. The report stated that 80% of the U.S. soybean trade growth over the past decade was centered on China’s average 5.6 million tons imported annually from the U.S.

However, African Swine Fever is causing China to lower its imports by 11 million tons total from 2017-18, and much of that decline was American soybeans.

“If not for the increase in demand from other markets, spurred in part by lower prices, the current trend in global soybean trade would have turned negative,” the report stated.

Slowing demand, large crops, a buildup of stocks, all means soybean prices are 10% lower than just a few years ago. Brazil’s ramp up in soybean production and continued slowing demand in China means it’s even less likely for U.S. soybean prices to reach anything close to $10 per bushel in the near future, the report stated.

“For the week ending Aug. 1, U.S. 2018-19 soybean export commitments (outstanding sales plus accumulated exports) to China totaled 14.5 million tons, compared to 27.9 million a year ago,” the report stated. “Total commitments to the world were 48.8 million tons, compared to 58.5 million for the same period last year.”

To read the full report, visit www.fas.usda.gov.

Jennifer M. Latzke can be reached at 620-227-1807 or jlatzke@hpj.com.

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