China largely dominates the world’s soybean imports, but its share has been gradually shrinking in recent years.
Soy is a widely cultivated legume for its high content of protein (40%) and oil (20 percent).
Soybean imports to China were $48.306 million in 2021, up 22 percent year on year.
With this, its participation in the total world foreign purchases of this product fell to 56.5%, after in the three previous years that portion was around 58 percent.
Before, even its market share stood at 63.1% in 2017, according to data from the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Soybeans have been cultivated for more than 3,000 years in Asia and more recently have been successfully cultivated throughout the world.
Currently, the main world producers of soybeans are the United States, Brazil, Argentina, China and India.
Soy is one of the few plants that provides a complete supply of protein, as it contains all eight essential amino acids.
About 85% of the world’s soybeans are processed or “crushed” annually into soybean meal and soybean oil.
About 98% of soybean meal is further processed into animal feed, with the rest used to make soybean meal and protein.
Likewise, according to the company Adecoagro, of the oil content, 85% is consumed as edible oil and the rest is used for industrial products such as fatty acids, soaps and biodiesel.
Adecoagro sells its soybeans primarily to the crushing and processing industries, which produce soybean oil and soybean meal that are used in the food, feed, and biofuel industries.
Other large buyers of soybeans from abroad were in 2021: Argentina (2,624 million dollars, +32% year-on-year), Mexico (2,538 million, +14%) and Thailand (2,274 million, +41 percent).
By contrast, Brazil and the United States together accounted for 84.8% of world soybean exports in 2021.
Brazil, the world leader, registered external sales of 38,639 million dollars last year, an advance of 35%, at an annual rate.
For its part, the United States reported a year-on-year growth of 8%, to 27,523 million dollars.