Bangladesh: A Growing Market for U.S. Soybeans

With a population over 163 million, and a fast-growing economy, Bangladesh is a rapidly growing agricultural market. With rapid modernization of the poultry and aquaculture industries, Bangladesh has the potential to grow further as an export destination for U.S. soybeans.

With limited domestic soybean production, Bangladesh has historically procured soybean meal from regional suppliers, such as India, to satiate its burgeoning livestock sector. After its struggles with avian influenza in 2011 and 2012, followed by domestic unrest in 2013, the Bangladesh poultry sector expanded its operations and started to diversify its procurement of protein meal, especially with production issues in long-time supplier India.

Price sensitivity initially drove Bangladesh buyers to suppliers in South America for a couple of years. With the global soybean production boom in recent years increasing the affordability of U.S. beans, however, U.S. soybean exports to Bangladesh have picked up, improving U.S. market share. In MY2016/17, the United States supplied a large portion of the domestic soybean and meal market. In MY2017/18 year-to-date, U.S. exports of soybeans to Bangladesh have already exceeded three times of what was shipped in the same time frame last year. While the resurgence of Indian soybean meal exports may continue, a rapidly growing aquaculture and livestock industry and expanding crush capacity suggests that Bangladesh will continue to provide additional opportunities for U.S. soybean exporters.

United States Facing Growing Competition in Peanut Butter Trade

While the United States continues to be the world’s largest exporter of peanut butter, recent trade statistics show increasing competition from other exporters. For the year ending September 30, 2017, the United States. exported nearly 46,000 tons of peanut butter representing nearly one-third of global trade. This equates to about 90,000 tons of U.S. peanuts or approximately 13 percent of total U.S. exports (peanuts + peanut equivalent in peanut butter). Canada remains the largest market for U.S. peanut butter, accounting for over one-third of exports, and the largest source of imported peanut butter. Netting out cross border trade with Canada (U.S. exports to Canada minus Canada’s exports to the U.S.) raises the U.S. global export share to 37 percent.

Net trade with Canada, which peaked at near 7,000 metric tons in the 12 months ending in early 2015, has declined to less than 3,000 tons today, primarily on the strength of growing Canadian exports to the U.S. While U.S. exports to Canada have remained constant, U.S. exports to other markets have fallen 5,000 tons to near 32,000 tons. The result has been a decline in the U.S. global export share from 35 to 32 percent (all trade) and 44 to 37 percent (excluding cross-border trade with Canada) since mid-2015.

While the combined export share of the four major peanut exporting countries, Argentina, China, India and the United States, has remained nearly constant at 60 percent, the U.S. share has fallen. Much of this is being taken by India, with gains likely in the value end of the market, while more modest gains are attributed to other exporters. With a larger crop this year, the United States has the potential to gain back some lost market share. However, competition is expected to remain strong, particularly in price-sensitive markets.


Global oilseed production is forecast slightly higher this month at 580 million tons. Soybean crop prospects are down with smaller production in Canada and Russia. Rapeseed production is boosted, with higher production in Canada offsetting lower production in India and Australia. Global oil production is forecast up on higher palm oil production in Indonesia. Global soybean exports are unchanged this month. Imports are slightly higher as larger Argentina, Canada, and Russia imports more than offset reductions for Iran. World ending stocks for soybeans are up this month, with larger stocks in the United States and the European Union outweighing smaller stocks in Argentina and Brazil. The U.S. season-average farm price for soybeans is unchanged at $9.30 per bushel.


U.S. export bids in November, FOB Gulf, averaged $379/ton, up $3 from the previous month. In comparison, FOB Brazil Paranagua averaged $386/ton, unchanged from last month. FOB Argentina Up River averaged $371/ton, down $7 from last month. Strong demand and concerns about the South American crop has supported prices in the United States.

For the week ending November 30, U.S. 2017/18 soybean export commitments (outstanding sales plus accumulated exports) to China totaled 20.7 million tons compared to 27.2 million a year ago. Total commitments to the world are 36.3 million tons, compared to 43.1 million for the same period last year.