CHINA- China is forecasted to import a record volume of soybeans in 2022-23, although an increase in domestic production could dampen totals in the 2023-24 marketing year, according to a report from the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the US Department of Agriculture.

According to the report, Soybean imports are estimated at 101 million tonnes due to relatively lower prices and the revival in demand for soybean meal and vegetable oil following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions. The recovery in imports was further supported by ample supply from Brazil. 

The FAS said that imports in the first 10 months of 2022-23 have surged to 84.3 million tonnes, a 10% increase compared to the previous year.

The expansion of domestic soybean production and the higher 2022-23 imports are expected to weigh on soybean import growth.

The expansion of domestic soybean production is likely to channel a portion of the crop into the crushing industry in the northeastern regions, thereby directly competing with imported soybeans,” the FAS said.

Soybean production in 2023-24 is estimated at 19.7 million tonnes, a small decline from previous estimates due to flooding and other impacts related to heavy rain.

Additionally, total oilseed crush in 2023-24 is estimated at 134 million tonnes, an increase from the 132.9 million tonnes estimated in 2022-23. Growth is driven by the gradual recovery of demand for protein meals in the feed sector.

A moderate resurgence in vegetable oil demand and increased usage of soybean for food purposes also will contribute to greater oilseed demand, the FAS said.

India soybean harvest to decline 

Meanwhile,  India is expected to see a decline in output in the coming season due to the El Niño weather pattern that’s projected to settle into the region in late 2023, according to a report from the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the US Department of Agriculture.

India is projected to see soybean and rapeseed production decline to 11.9 million tonnes and 11.2 million tonnes, respectively in 2023-24, the report said.

This comes after posting strong production numbers for soybeans and rapeseed in the soon-to-be-completed 2022-23 marketing year. 

The FAS estimates soybean production at 12.4 million tonnes for the current marketing year that ends on Sept. 30, while it pegs rapeseed output at 11.8 million tonnes, which would both be records. 

The slightly higher estimate is attributed to the monsoon showers in Madhya, Pradesh and Maharashtra, which are the major soybean-growing states in India,” the FAS said. “The late onset of the monsoon by more than a week slowed down the soybean planting process initially in both of the states, but rainfall from early July helped to pick up the planting rapidly.

The report also noted that India’s export of soybean meal is estimated to nearly double from 940,000 last year to 1.8 million tonnes in 2022-23. 

More competitive pricing and sufficient domestic soybean supplies for crushing have led to a stronger export demand from regional markets,” the FAS said.

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