By a wide margin, soybeans are the most valuable U.S. farm export, accounting for 18 cents of every $1 in sales during calendar 2020, said the USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service on Wednesday.
China failed to meet its "phase one" target for imports of U.S. food, agriculture, and seafood products despite a surge in purchases that began late last summer, said the Peterson Institute for International Economics on Thursday.
While China may not meet the first-year target under the "phase one" trade agreement, it is buying huge amounts of U.S. food, agriculture, and seafood products that could total $31 billion over 12 months, said Iowa State economist Wendong Zhang at a farm conference on Thursday. Neither Zhang nor Ohio State professor Ian Sheldon said they expected the Biden administration to roll back U.S. tariffs on China in the near term.
Despite dry weather at the start of the planting season, Brazil is headed for its second record-setting soybean harvest in a row, said USDA analysts, who forecast the 2020/21 crop at 133 million metric tonnes, up nearly 6 percent from last year.
The "phase one" agreement that de-escalated the Sino-U.S. trade war is not paying off in massive sales of U.S. products, including food and agricultural exports, to China or in the long-term reform of Chinese trade practices, said Chad Brown of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. "(President) Trump's trade war has failed to address what really ails the U.S.-China trade relationship," wrote Brown in a blog. "It is time for a new approach."
Thanks to a buying spree, China is far and away the top customer for U.S. corn six weeks into the marketing year, said chief executive Ryan LeGrand of the U.S. Grains Council on Thursday. Its purchases of 10.4 million tonnes for delivery during 2020/21 are twice as large as sales to date to Mexico, usually the No. 1 importer.
Exporters sold nearly 2.7 million tonnes of U.S. soybeans in the first half of this month for delivery to China, said the USDA on Thursday. A "significant" sale was reported on each of the 10 business days beginning on Sept. 3, said the Foreign Agricultural Service.
Recent increases in market prices are making soybeans more attractive, and farmers will respond by expanding soybean acreage by nearly 5 percent in 2021 while holding steady on corn acreage, said Farm Futures on Wednesday.
China is closer than commonly realized to fulfilling its commitment to buy vast amounts of U.S. food and ag products this year, said U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer on Thursday, rebutting criticism that the "phase one" trade agreement is faltering. "If you had to bet right now, you'd say they're going to do it."