Exports to China are lagging, according to Agricultural Economic Insights.
Agricultural Economist David Widmar says before the trade war, soybean exports accounted for 51 percent of all U.S. ag exports to China. He writes, “Based on the first four months of 2020, trade with China has been disappointing.” After $778 million in sales in January, soybeans have mostly stalled as total 2020 sales reached $1.2 billion through April.
Those figures come as the U.S. and China signed a Phase One trade agreement that included aggressive purchases of U.S. commodities by China. Through April, purchases of total U.S. ag products approached $4.6 billion, in line with 2019’s $4.3 billion figure.
Yet, pre-trade war levels over the same time period in 2017 totaled $7.1 billion. China’s purchases are seasonal, with a flurry of activity early this year, and typically large purchases in the fall.
Widmar says that before the trade war, China purchased 57 percent of total annual soybeans between October and December.