Buenos Aires, January 23rd. According to the Statistics and Census National Institute (INDEC), during the calendar year 2018 Argentina imported 6.44 million metric tons of soybean, versus 1.84 MMT in 2017. But considering the commercial year (April to March) this volume could be much higher, because the soybean crushing industry tends to accelerate its imports as it moves away from the harvest peak (April/May 2018).

Despite being the third largest world soybean producer, these imports place Argentina as the third largest soybean importer, behind China and the European Union block.

The crushing industry expended US$2.500 million to import the raw material. The 65% of the imports came from Paraguay, while other 20% came from the US. The remaining 15% appears in the INDEC’s reports as “confidential” origin.

It was not a good year for the local soybean crushing industry. Soybean oil exports moved back US$747 million, soybean ones US$1.278 and biodiesel ones US253 million. Only the soybean meal exports increased US$117 million respect to 2017. Thus, the soybean complex lost US$2,161 million last year. But, if we added the imports, the negative balance climbed to US$4.661 million.

Source: RIA Consultores over INDEC

During 2018, the oilseed industry crushed 36.76 MMT of soybean, the smallest volume since 2013. In December 2018 the imported soybean represented 31% of the total crushing. Considering the calendar year, the imported soybean represented 18% of the domestic crushing.