China already buys about two-thirds of the soybeans traded on the planet. Over the next decade, the USDA expects global soybean trade to increase by 25 percent, of that about 85 percent will be because of Chinese purchases.
The numbers were presented at the Agricultural Outlook Forum in Washington D.C. by USDA Chief Economist Rob Johansson. He says projections are based off of assumptions the number of middle class households in China will nearly double to nearly 250 million in 2024.
Johansson says, "Those households will demand more meat protein and processed foods in their diet. And looking at other potential markets it could provide significant new demands for food commodities. We note that the number of middle class households in India is expected to more than triple by 2024."
Johansson says the U.S. has not had nearly as much success in opening new markets in India as it has in China, but thinks poultry, eggs, fruit, and milk have the greatest potential.
The U.S. will stay the worlds largest exporter of corn over the next ten years, but Brazil will stay the largest soybean exporter with its share of export growing to more than 50 percent.