The EU's soybean meal imports dipped 9% year on year to 9.9m mt between July 1, the start of the 2020-21 marketing year and January 24, while raw soybean purchases were 5% higher at 8.3 million mt, imported primarily from the US, according to the European Commission on January 25.
Soybean meal crushers and traders in Argentina and Brazil are dealing with holdups in raw bean supply. Soybean farmers in Brazil have reduced stocks, and farmers in Argentina are disinclined to sell their inventories as a result of the government's punitive tax and revenue policies, according to the note from S&P Global.
Argentina is also seeking numerous work stoppages by port workers, developments that are not supportive of exports.
Both countries are also facing delays in harvest for the 2020-21 soybean crop, which exacerbates the current supply situation. On top of those constraints, the domestic demand for soy in Brazil is increasing due to growing demand from the beef, pork and poultry sectors in Asia, particularly China.
EU soy import data
Since the start of the 2020-21 marketing year, Brazilian soybean meal has represented 44.7% of the EU's imports at 4.44m mt, while Argentina accounted for 39.7%, at 3.94m mt, the EC data shows.
In terms of raw soybean imports to the EU, US exporters has been gaining traction over their South American counterparts. The US's market share of EU imports in the 2020-21 marketing year was 44.7%, or 3.7m mt, while Brazil's share was 34.5%, or 2.8m mt.
Other major soybean suppliers to the EU were Canada, Ukraine and Serbia.
The Netherlands is the leading buyer of soybeans in the EU, with Spain and Denmark following, noted the Commission’s report.