The report provides a global overview of production, consumption and prices of soybeans. Soaring input costs and supply disruptions put pressure on soybean producers and add more volatility to the market. Meanwhile, dry weather in South America has resulted in tightened global supply in 2021/2022, adding to upward pressure on soybean prices. Over the long term, rising demand for animal protein from the world’s growing population is set to support consumption of soybeans, an important feed input.
While China is projected to remain the biggest importer of soybeans for its large livestock and poultry sectors, strong population growth, rapid urbanisation and increasing middle-income class in other developing countries in Asia are expected to provide a substantial boost to animal product consumption. In response to higher demand for animal proteins, Asia Pacific is expected to witness intensification in livestock production with growing use of soy-based compound feed.
Weaker soybean supply due to unfavourable weather conditions, surging input costs, supply disruptions of fertilisers and alternative crops caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and lingering COVID-19 effects have added more uncertainty and volatility to the soybeans market, driving up the prices. Although the prices of soybeans are forecast to peak mid-2022, inflationary pressures are likely to remain high over 2022 and beyond.
Soybean production remains highly susceptible to the warming climate and adverse weather events, such as heatwaves and droughts, along with rising global water scarcity. Adapting crop management, conserving and improving soil conditions by minimising tilling, increasing crop diversification, protecting soil from erosion, as well as the development of drought-tolerant varieties, will be key to withstand the emerging climate challenges.
Demand for plant proteins has seen strong growth, with consumers shifting towards flexitarian, vegetarian and vegan diets. The rising consumption of meat and dairy substitutes and the growing number of new plant-based product launches are expected to support soybean production. Moreover, growing consumer concerns over the food quality and environmental impact (such as climate change and deforestation) is set to support demand for non-GMO, organic and sustainably-grown soybeans.
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