Unexpectedly Intriguing!
January 10, 2018

A lot of people don't know this, but the humble soybean ranks among the top products that the United States exports to China. The vast majority of those exports come in the months from September through December each year and, if the U.S. Census Bureau's data on U.S. soybean exports to China is any indication, 2017 is lagging far behind 2016.

Estimated Bushels of Soybeans Exported from the United States to China per Month, January 2012 to November 2017

For the peak export month of October, the estimated volume of soybeans being shipped from U.S. ports to China has fallen by 91.5 million bushels from 2016's record 384.3 million bushels (a 24% drop). Likewise, the just released data for November 2017 indicates that month's 264.6 million exported bushels of soybeans is 21% below 2016's level of 335.2 million bushels. And all this is happening as the price of soybeans has been largely stable at an average of $9.40 per bushel from 2016 to 2017.

2016 was an unusual year for soybean exports for two main reasons. First, U.S. farmers had a bumper crop of the oil seed, which was especially good news because the world's second largest grower and exporter of soybeans, Brazil, endured drought conditions that significantly reduced its crop as the second reason. In 2017 however, Brazil is back, reclaiming much of its market share with China, the world's largest importer of soybeans.

For the overall state of U.S. exports to China, you might expect then to see a spike the year over year growth rate of exports in late 2016, which would then not be present in 2017. Worse, with such a large decline in U.S. soybean exports to China, you might expect that the growth rate of the overall value of U.S. exports to China could even be negative. The following chart shows what we're really seeing today.

Year Over Year Growth Rate of Exchange Rate Adjusted U.S.-China Trade in Goods and Services, January 1986 - November 2017

Instead of being negative, the year over year growth rate of the value of the goods and services that the U.S. exports to China just above the zero growth line for both October and November 2017.

Remember that these months saw the year over year growth rate of U.S. exports to China spike a year earlier, thanks to the record surge in U.S. soybean exports that year. For the estimated volume of those exports to have declined by over one-fifth in 2017 and to still have enough other exports to fill the gap so that the overall value of U.S. goods going to China is slightly positive is an indication of how successful the U.S.' other export products to China have been in 2017.

A big portion of those additional exports is in the form of crude oil, which is a story that we'll follow up next month after the U.S. Census Bureau releases its trade data for December 2017.


About Political Calculations

Welcome to the blogosphere's toolchest! Here, unlike other blogs dedicated to analyzing current events, we create easy-to-use, simple tools to do the math related to them so you can get in on the action too! If you would like to learn more about these tools, or if you would like to contribute ideas to develop for this blog, please e-mail us at:

ironman at politicalcalculations.com

Thanks in advance!

Recent Posts

Stock Charts and News

Most Popular Posts
Quick Index

Site Data

This site is primarily powered by:

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

CSS Validation

Valid CSS!

RSS Site Feed

AddThis Feed Button


The tools on this site are built using JavaScript. If you would like to learn more, one of the best free resources on the web is available at W3Schools.com.

Other Cool Resources

Blog Roll

Market Links

Useful Election Data
Charities We Support
Shopping Guides
Recommended Reading
Recently Shopped

Seeking Alpha Certified

Legal Disclaimer

Materials on this website are published by Political Calculations to provide visitors with free information and insights regarding the incentives created by the laws and policies described. However, this website is not designed for the purpose of providing legal, medical or financial advice to individuals. Visitors should not rely upon information on this website as a substitute for personal legal, medical or financial advice. While we make every effort to provide accurate website information, laws can change and inaccuracies happen despite our best efforts. If you have an individual problem, you should seek advice from a licensed professional in your state, i.e., by a competent authority with specialized knowledge who can apply it to the particular circumstances of your case.