GERMANY - China is changing the world in the soybean market according to the European president of the American Soybean Association, writes Chris Harris.
Speaking at EuroTier in Hanover Mark Andersen American Soybean Association International Marketing Regional Director for Europe, Turkey and Russia said that four years ago Europe had the largest consumption followed by the US and China.
Now, however, China has taken the lead in consumption.
"It has had a major impact on what is being consumed and what is being grown," he said.
Mr Andersen added that while the drought in the US has kept prices high, so too has the demand from China and he added that the growth of China as a nation with the population expected to rise from 1.348 billion to 1.395 billion in 2025 and a GDP of 7.8 per cent expected this year will maintain the pace of growth.
He added that as the Chinese population gains more wealth consumption of pork and poultry meat is expected to rise and production will rise alongside it to meet the demands of a growing middle class.
Next year the Chinese soybean crush is expected to reach 64.2 million tonnes and soy meal consumption is expected to rise to more than 50 million tonnes from 2012 to 2013.
Mr Andersen said that China has now because the driver in the market because the country now takes 50 per cent of US soybean exports.
"It used to be Europe. Now it is China. China is the driver," he said.
In total, China is approaching 30 per cent of the total world consumption of soybean meal.
He added that the market situation has been eased to export to China because it does not have any sustainability requirements and it also approves of biotech soybean and it orders large quantities ahead of supply.
The demand and the shift in market dynamics have also attracted many large companies such as Cargill and Bunge into the Chinese market.
Mr Andersen said that as China is now the major destination for US soybean, India could soon be the next big growth market. The population is growing and wealth in the country is growing in a similar way to China.