China consolidates its position as Brazil’s biggest corn and soybeans buyer

Official customs data show that Chinese imports are increasing year on year

Brazil exported 9.3 million tonnes of corn and 8.4 million tonnes of soybeans in August, with China as the main buyer of corn and soybeans, official customs data analyzed by Fastmarkets Agriculture showed.

While China has been the biggest buyer of soybeans for a long time, it is new to take the lead in corn, as shipments started less than a year ago.

Soybeans

Brazil exported a total of 8.4 million tonnes of soybeans in August, below the 9.5 million tonnes shipped in the previous month but above the 5.9 million tonnes from the same month last year.

In August, the volume exported to the neighboring country amounted to 208,172 tonnes, versus 48,770 tonnes in the same month last year.

China remained the biggest buyer, with 6.3 million tonnes in August compared with 6.8 million tonnes the previous month, which was 2 million tonnes above the level of August 2022.

Since the start of the calendar, Brazil has sent 3.7 million tonnes to Argentina, more than the full-year 656,650 tonnes exported in 2018.

Other relevant destinations were Spain (255,620 tonnes), Turkey, Iran and Russia, (all over 140k tonnes)

Russia’s year-to-date Brazilian soybean imports rose to 983,885 tonnes, down from just over 1 million tonnes last year but considerably higher than volumes imported before the war – sales averaged just over 700,000 tonnes between 2017 and 2020.

Brazil has exported a total of 80.8 million tonnes of soybeans since the beginning of 2023, up from 66.4 million tonnes from January to August 2022.

China secured 56.7 million tonnes of Brazilian beans during the period, versus 44.7 million tonnes from January to August 2022.

Corn

Brazil exported a record 2.3 million tonnes to China in August versus 902,111 tonnes in July, lifting the yearly total to 4.6 million tonnes.

China was followed by Vietnam (858,724 tonnes), Japan (845,741 tonnes), South Korea (548,546 tonnes) and Mexico (511,323 tonnes)

Brazil’s bumper crops are leading the country to expand its market share even in markets that traditionally source corn from competitors such as the US.

This is the case of Mexico, which imported 1.1 million tonnes of Brazilian corn in the first eight months of 2023, compared with just under 315,000 tonnes during the same period last year.

Brazil has sent abroad 25.2 million tonnes of corn since the start of the calendar year, up from 17.8 million tonnes during the same period in 2022.

View our corn prices.

Soy products

Soy oil exports amounted to 202,234 tonnes in August, compared with 257,311 in July and 214,273 tonnes in August last year.

The main destinations were India (120,650 tonnes), China (21,598 tonnes), Algeria, Egypt and Venezuela, all with above 10,000 tonnes.

India imported 1.1 million tonnes from Brazil since the beginning of the calendar year, slightly up on the year but way above volumes traditionally sourced from Brazil during this time of the year.

The volume hovers between 250,000 tonnes and 500,000 tonnes in the first eight months of the year with a record-high pre-2021 of just under 645,000 tonnes in 2018.

Soy meal exports reached 2.4 million tonnes in August, versus 2.2 million tonnes in July and 1.8 million tonnes in the same month last year.

From January to August, Brazil shipped 15.4 million tonnes, surpassing the 14 million tonnes reported in the same period last year.

The main destinations were Indonesia (440,035 tonnes), Thailand (375,370 tonnes) and Vietnam (272,177 tonnes).

View our soybean oil prices.

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