0207 GMT February 16, 2019
Between October and March each year, the US becomes the main source of soybeans for China, with the largest portion of the 35.7 million tons in total that it ships there annually being imported during this period, worldmaritimenews.com reported.
However, in March, brewing trade war between the two countries saw China extend its tariffs on imports from the US to several more agricultural products including soybeans.
Exports to China are down by 31 percent for the first eight months of 2018 and by 95 percent in August alone.
During the first eight months of 2018, the US exported 7.84 million tons of soybeans to China. This is down by 3.54 million tons from 11.38 million tons in the same period in 2017, BIMCO said.
In August, only 67,000 tons of soya beans were shipped from the US to China. This is a reduction of 95 percent year-on-year.
There were only four months between January 2016 and July 2018, that the US exported no more than one 82,000 DWT Panamax dry bulk cargo to Iran.
In August 2018, 414,000 tons, the equivalent of five Panamax loads of soya beans were shipped to Iran — this amounts to 13.2 percent of total US soybean exports in August.
"BIMCO anticipated trade lanes to change due to the ongoing trade war between China and the US. But it’s fair to say that Iran’s massive and sudden appetite for US soybeans is much unexpected and the reason is currently unknown," BIMCO's Chief Shipping Analyst Peter Sand commented.
"From a shipping perspective it’s vital to have continued exports sent to far away destinations, deploying the many ships in position right now to cater for the seaborne transportation demand.
"The Chinese appetite for US soybeans has been muted all year, in absolute as well as relative terms."
Brazil has managed to fill in a portion of Chinese exports during the first eight months of 2018.
Brazil exported 50.9 million tons of soya beans to China — an increase of 6.8 million tons (15 percent rise) from 44.1 million tons exported during the first eight months of 2017, BIMCO data showed.