Starting from the initial outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, China has had a zero-COVID policy with the aim of totally eradicating the virus from the country, thus protecting Chinese citizens. During that same period, many countries dealt with the situation differently and were able to contain the pandemic through collaborations, vaccinations, and sharing of best practices.

Over the weekend in China, investors and citizens began to protest lockdown measures to convince the government to ease the approach taken to eradicate COVID-19 as it may affect the economy through investment, tourism, employment, and trade.

China’s population and dietary preferences make it the world’s largest importer of soybeans; thus, the concern of the protestors may be a concern for the global oilseeds market. Historically, U.S. soybean exports to China have peaked within the period of October through to December, irrespective of the global pandemic.

This 2022/23 marketing year, even during ongoing regional lockdowns in China, weekly soybean exports have followed the same pattern of having a peak in volumes going out around this time of year.

Currently, weekly soybean exports have picked up seasonally from the week of Oct. 6 to the week of Nov. 24 (from 607,100 MT to 1,510,356 MT) with soybean exports to China being almost 70 percent of the U.S.’s cumulative soybean exports.

For now, lockdowns have not disrupted soybean trade with China, nonetheless, analysts are following the news and the numbers closely to give updates on what may be an effect of the protests on the soybean commodities market.

Weekly U.S. soybean exports to China

Note: 2018/19 is excluded due to the trade dispute effectively halting soybean exports to China during much of that season.

Chinese soybean imports

Source: USDA
Posted by: Information Services
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