Economist braces for reduced Chinese demand

An ag economist says China’s surging demand for ag exports over the past year has been spurred by the Phase One Trade Deal along with African Swine Fever recovery, but it’s starting to slow.

“We are already noticing corn and pork purchases are not as strong as a year before, soybeans are still going strong but its probably not as high as we’ve seen over the past 12 months,”

Wendong Zhang with Iowa State University tells Brownfield while some major ag exports to China have softened, increasing incomes there are demanding higher proteins and more specialties items like cherries and other food products.

He’s watching to see how major political events in both China and the U.S. this year will impact agricultural trade along with supply chain and COVID-19 impacts.

“Increasingly, the agricultural trade situation will be probably be intertwined with political dimensions,” he says.

Despite record exports, a new report by the U.S. Trade Representative this week finds China’s Phase One Trade Deal did not fundamentally address U.S. concerns with the country and outlines areas where China has failed commitments specific to agriculture.

Brownfield interviewed Zhang during the recent Great Lakes Crop Summit.

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