China purchases two-thirds of the soybeans traded on the planet.
Over the next ten years, USDA expects global soybean trade to increase by 25% and that Chinese purchases will account for 85% of the increase. The numbers were presented at the Agricultural Outlook Forum in Washington D.C., (today, Thursday, Feb 23, 2017) by USDA Chief Economist Rob Johannson. He says the projections are based on the assumption the number of middle-class households in China will double to nearly 250 million by the year 2024, “Those households will start demanding more meat, protein, and processed foods in their diet. And looking to other potential markets that could provide significant new demands for food commodities, we note that the number of middle-class households in India is expected to triple by 2024.”
Johannson says the United States has not had nearly as much success in opening new markets in India as it has in China. He thinks poultry, eggs, fruit, and milk have the greatest potential. The estimated annual growth in poultry meat, he explains, could exceed eight percent. That kind of livestock trade across the planet the Chief Economist explains will require grain and oilseed farmers to expand acreage, "Based on projected yield growth, the world will need to allocate about 50 million more acres of corn, wheat, and soybeans at U.S. productivity growth levels to meet the increase in trade demand.
The United States says Johannson is expected to remain the world’s largest exporter of corn over the next ten years with the U.S. share between 38 and 39 percent. Brazil is expected to remain the world’s largest soybean exporter with its share of exports growing to over 50 percent by the year 2026.