The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has lowered its latest forecast for US soyabean exports in 2023/24 to 50.4M tonnes following the publication of a National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) report which indicated a reduction in soyabean planted area.

The NASS June acreage report forecast US soyabean planted area in 2023/24 would be 83.5M acres (33.8Mha) – 4M acres (1.6M ha) below both the March prospective plantings report and last year’s planted area.

In its Oilseeds: World Markets and Trade report published on 12 July, the USDA reduced its forecast for US 2023/24 exports by 3.4M tonnes. Expected stocks were reduced by 1.4M tonnes, while crushing was lowered marginally due to strong demand for soyabean oil for biofuel feedstock.

“The 2022/23 US soyabean trade market has been characterised by vigorous domestic demand for crush[ing] and strong Brazil[ian] competition on the global market. The expected continuation of these conditions into the next marketing year coupled with the forecast decrease in supplies means that the deficit will largely be taken out of exports … to meet domestic demand,” the USDA said.

Despite the lower production outlook for the USA, the global soyabean output forecast remained at a record level, mainly due to a record Brazilian crop and an improving crop in Argentina, according to the report.

“Slowing demand growth in China, economic difficulties in other major importing countries such as Egypt and Pakistan, and record supplies are expected to result in moderated global soyabean prices in 2023/24,” the USDA said.

“The USA will likely remain less competitive than South America in the export market due to smaller supplies and biofuel policy incentives, which will keep more soyabeans on the domestic market for crushing.”

The USDA said smaller supplies and strong domestic demand in the USA would limit export potential with trading partners, forcing importers to pay higher prices or increase purchases from Brazil.

Factors affecting global soyabean and product trade at the time of the report included larger soyabean meal shipments from South America and lowered soyabean import forecasts in major US markets including Egypt and Mexico.