Argentina has reached an agreement to export soyabean meal to China for the first time.

The president of Argentina’s Chamber of the Oil Industry of the Argentine Republic and Cereal Export Center, Gustavo Idigoras, said the deal still required a two-step process of plant authorisations and then registrations that could take several months, World Grain reported on 11 September.

The world’s largest soyabean exporter is forecast to export more than 30M tonnes of soyabean meal in 2019/20, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

China was projected to consume 63.1M tonnes of soyabean meal, down from 66.8M tonnes a year ago and 70.1M tonnes in 2017/18, according to a September USDA Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report.

Chinese soyabean meal consumption was forecast to decline in 2019/20 to a four-year low due to African swine fever (ASF), World Grain wrote.

The country’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA) reported in July that both hog and sow inventories declined more than 30% from the same month in 2018.

China’s soyabean production was forecast at 17.1M tonnes, up from 15.9M tonnes in 2018/19, as the government subsidies were encouraging farmers to plant soyabeans, World Grain wrote.

The USDA forecast Argentina’s 2019/20 soyabean production to be at 54M tonnes, down from 55.6M tonnes produced in 2018/19.

Argentine 2019/20 soyabean exports were projected at 8.7M tonnes, down from the forecast for 2018/19 of 9M tonnes.

“Producers are expecting adequate financing next season, however they will be relying less on banks and working directly with input providers as current lending rates are too high,” a 4 May USDA attaché report said.

“Due to the country’s macroeconomic volatility over the past year, interest rates have risen to over 60% in peso-denominated loans. While lower rates are offered in dollar-denominated loans (around 5% to 10%), producers are wary of committing to such loan arrangements with the current economic climate.”

The attaché report also forecast a 1% fall in Argentine soyabean crush to 41M tonnes because of trade conditions that favoured whole soyabeans exports.