The slump in imports is linked to tight supplies from the top two suppliers, Argentina and Brazil, market sources told S&P Global Platts.
“While Brazilian soybean farmers have virtually no old crop stock left to sell, their Argentinian counterparts are reluctant to trade their oilseed inventories due to the government's tax and revenue policies, analysts said previously. In addition, Argentinian crushers are facing a supply crunch due to a delayed Paraguayan soy harvest. Argentinian crushers are heavily dependent on Paraguayan soybean supplies until mid-April.”
Argentina and Brazil represent around 85% of EU soybean meal imports.
Since the start of the 2020-21 marketing year, Brazilian soybean meal has accounted for 44% of the EU's imports at 5.4m mt, while Argentina held a 39% share at 4.85m mt, as per the EU Commission report.
Both Argentina and Brazil are facing the prospect of a delayed harvest for the 2020-21 crop, which complicates the situation further, the analysts told S&P Global.
Additionally, Brazil has experienced high domestic demand for soybean meal-based animal feed because of growing beef, pork, and poultry demand from Asia, they added.
US soybeans have been increasingly selling their soybeans to the EU, which is, globally, the second-largest oilseed importer after China.
The US market share of EU imports in the 2020-21 marketing year to date is 49.5%, or 5.2m mt, while Brazil's share went down a point week on week to 31.4%, or 3.3m mt, the data showed.
Other major soybean suppliers to the EU are Canada, Ukraine, and Serbia, reported the EU Commission.