17/2/05 Oilmandi - BOOMING trade in soyabean and derivatives in recentyears has left wheat and coarse grains behind.
Rising unabated since the early 1990s, global trade in soyabean andsoyabean products (meal and oil) has surpassed wheat, the traditionalleader in agricultural commodity trade, as also total coarse grains.
World trade in wheat hovers between 104 million tonnes (mt) and 108 mt,while coarse grains trade is around 98-102 mt.
Production of bean, meal and oil has been rising consistently in responseto growing global demand for vegetable oil and animal feed. Soyabeanyields too have risen over the years in principal producing countries andcurrently stands at about 2.75 tonnes per hectare.
Continued strong growth in global demand for vegetable oil and proteinmeal is expected to maintain the trade in soyabean and its products wellabove wheat and coarse grains throughout the next decade, the USDepartment of Agriculture said in its latest baseline projections to 2014.
The three major commodity groupings, namely wheat, coarse grains andoilseeds (including soyabean), compete with each other and with othercrops for increasingly limited temperate cropland.
However, previously uncropped land in tropical regions of Brazil andIndonesia are being converted to soyabean and palm oil production.
Some estimates suggest up to 50 million hectares are available in Brazilalone that could potentially come under soyabean cultivation. Similarly,Indonesian palm oil production is forecast to continue to rise rapidly andsurpass that of Malaysia (14 mt) in the coming years because of landavailability and lower production cost.
Currently the world's largest producer of soyabean, the US is expected toface competition from Brazil over the next several years.
While low prices may help US soyabean exports to rise during 2005-07,exports are then projected to level off during 2009-14 largely due toinroads made by Brazil resulting in a loss of market share for US soyabeanand derivatives by the next decade.
The projections suggest in the US soyabean plantings initially declinefrom a relatively high level in 2004 in response to lower prices caused byrecord 2004 production (85 mt).
Soyabean acreage declines further through 2009 as higher prices and netreturns for competing crops, particularly corn (maize), provide incentivesto switch some land from soyabean. Planting then stabilise in theremaining years of the projection.