Ag export volumes to China to fall, value to rise

A recent CoBank report expects ag export volumes to China to fall next year but says overall value could rise.

USDA is projecting $39 billion of ag exports to China in 2022, up $2 billion from this year’s estimated total expecting higher soybean prices. But CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Director, Rob Fox, tells Brownfield any guess is likely to be wrong.

“China definitely needs our agricultural products, and they will continue to import – I would anticipate – at a pretty good clip,” he said. “Hopefully, at the same pace as this year. But getting down to specific numbers, it’s impossible.”

The CoBank quarterly report points to the strength of U.S. soybean exports to largely be dependent on drought conditions in South America, especially Brazil, and harvest totals from the competitor.

Fox said with no trade obligations set beyond this year with China, trade talks have become similar to pre-phase one discussions even though the Biden administration was expected to take a less ‘hardline stance’.

“They’ve been just as tough and come out recently with some serious language that they expect China to abide by its phase one obligations,” Fox said. “Which, realistically, there’s really no way that China’s going to meet what they said they would.”

CoBank said China has fulfilled about 85 percent of its ag obligations but only 59 percent of agreed upon manufactured goods and 39 percent of the targeted energy consumption.  

Rob Fox Interview

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