March 2001 Edition
Recent Increases in South American Soybean Exports, Exert Pressure on the U.S. Lead
In recent years the dramatic expansion of soybean production among major exporters has led to significantly more pressure to export these surpluses. Historically U.S. yields and transportation infrastructure have provided an edge in the efficiency race, but these advantages are narrowing. Infrastructure investments in Argentina and Brazil have improved and expanded their transportation options and reduced costs, at the same time that technological improvements in seed and production techniques have led to higher yields. While the U.S. has retained its position as the largest exporter, competition for markets has greatly increased. This competition, has led to lower prices which has in turn expanded the demand for soybeans throughout the world. A major increase in demand has come from China, where consumption has risen rapidly, and Mexico has also been a significant source for increased sales. While South America has considerable potential to increase the area devoted to soybeans, and has grown as a competitor, the more important question is whether the expected price of soybeans next year will support the planting of additional area.
Approved by the World Agricultural Outlook Board/USDA