CAIRO, EGYPT — With local crushing capacity increasing, Egypt’s soybean imports in 2019-20 are forecast to rise 14% compared to the previous year, according to an April 4 Global Agricultural Information Network report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The USDA projects soybean imports at 4 million tonnes in 2019-20, up from 3.5 million tonnes in 2018-19.

Most of the imports will come from the United States, according to the USDA.

“Between October 2018 and February 2019, Egypt imported some 1.2 million tonnes of soybeans, 99% of which originated from the United States,” the USDA said. “U.S.-origin soybean exports to Egypt have risen to record levels since the onset of the U.S.-China trade tensions and China’s imposed retaliatory tariffs on U.S. soybeans.

“With Brazil-origin soybeans commanding a premium, combined with drought-induced tight supplies in Argentina, Egyptian traders and crushers are turning to the highly efficient and affordable U.S. soybeans.”

Out of the 3.43 million tonnes of soybeans imported by Egypt in calendar year 2018, 3 million tonnes came for the United States, according to the USDA.

“Industry sources report that meals produced from U.S.-origin soybeans show better uniformity, less fiber and are more nutritive than that of other origins,” the USDA said.

The USDA forecasts Egypt’s soybean meal production in 2019-20 at 3 million tonnes, up 11% compared to the 2018-19 estimate.

“We attribute the increase in soybean meal production to expanded local crush capacity, seeking to meet the expanding demand of the local feed industry, as well as that of the refining sector aiming to produce high quality blended oil for human consumption,” the USDA said.