April 24, 2003
By John Parker
Prospects for U.S. exports of dry beans in 2003 are relatively favorable. A 53 percent rebound for U.S. edible bean production in 2002 will provide larger supplies for export. Demand for imported beans is very strong in Africa. Dry weather in the recent year reduced bean yields in most countries of Africa south of the Sahara. Even further hikes in food aid sales of beans to this region will not come near reaching the pent-up demand.
Value For U.S. Edible Bean Exports Holding Steady
The value for U.S. exports of dry beans remained amazingly constant during January-November 2002 at $155,145,000, which was virtually the same as the $155.2 million recorded for the first 11 months of 2001. These numbers should help to ease earlier fears that U.S. exports of dry beans in 2002 would be down considerably because of the 24 percent reduction in the 2001 harvest. The quantity of U.S. dry bean exports of 264,740 tons during January-November 2002 (recent period) was 10 percent below the level for the first eleven months of 2001.
Some unusual sales came forth which contributed to strong showing for the value of bean exports. That was a dramatic increase in exports to markets in Africa, mostly through food aid programs. Exports to Mozambique zoomed from nothing in 2001 to 14,991 metric tons in the first eleven months of 2002, for a value of $9.1 million. U.S. bean exports to some other markets in Africa were also way up in 2002. Most of the pinto beans scheduled for shipment to Mozambique have been delivered, but another 8,000 tons of beans (including many red kidneys) are also destined there during 2002/03.
U.S. exports to the cash market in South Africa rose to about 3,000 tons in the recent period. South Africa imports about 55,000 tons of edible beans annually, mostly from China. South Africa may be a larger customer for U.S. pintos and cranberry beans in the coming year. Adverse weather hurt the recent crop of beans in South Africa. Demand is rising as more consumers seek inexpensive foods high in protein.
Greater U.S. exports of beans to markets in Africa in 2002 helped to offset a decline of 25 percent for shipments to the European Union. The average price for U.S. dry bean exports rose 12.2 percent during the recent period to $643.54 per ton, and it was 21.5 percent above the average price of $529.48 for calendar 2001.
Mexico Bought Fewer U.S. Beans In 2002
Shipments of U.S. beans to Mexico picked up some in November, but deliveries of 64,694 tons in the recent period were down about a ninth from those of the comparable months of 2001. However, higher prices caused the value for U.S. exports of beans to Mexico in the recent period to rise about 5 percent. In the last several seasons, the quantity of beans exported to Mexico has been an important factor influencing U.S. wholesale and farm prices.
U.S. edible bean exports to Mexico increased 23.9 percent in 2001 to 73,947 tons. Prospects for U.S. exports of beans to Mexico again rising to 181,000 tons as it did some years in the past are not good for 2003. Mexico is likely to buy the quota of about 63,000 tons, and possibly a little extra, but probably no more than 80,000 tons of U.S. beans in 2003.
United Kingdom Shifted Back
More To Competitors In 2002
The United Kingdom increased purchases of U.S. edible beans by a fifth in 2001, but shipments fell about 30 percent in the recent period to 34,067 tons. A return of more competition from other suppliers of navy pea beans caused the average U.S. export price for beans to the UK during the recent period to decline by 9.3 percent to $533 per ton.
Sales To Italy Down
In some years of the early 1990s, Italy was the second leading world edible bean importer, after India. The steep decline for Italian imports of broad beans from China caused the quantity imported to fall into a lower range in the last several years.
U.S. exports of dry beans to Italy tumbled by more than half in the recent period to 4,896 tons.
Rebound For Exports To France Likely
A rebound is likely for U.S. bean exports to France in 2003 as importers respond to lower prices for the 2002 harvest. U.S. exports of dry beans to France fell by nearly half in the recent period to 6,267 ton.
Exports To Sweden Up Sharply
Swedish consumers are becoming more interested in high protein foods which are either without cholesterol, or low in it. U.S. exports of edible beans to Sweden more than doubled in the recent period, reaching 330 tons.
Gains Made For Exports To Certain European Customers
Spain increased purchases of U.S. dry beans in the recent period, when deliveries rose 44.5 percent. U.S. exports of dry beans to the Netherlands increased 31.3 percent in the recent period to 5,171 tons.
U.S. exports of dry beans to Albania reached 1,835 tons in the recent period compared with none during the comparable months of 2001. Also, U.S. exports of dry beans to Bulgaria rose in the recent period reaching 622 tons. Deliveries of U.S. beans to Yugoslavia rebounded to 825 tons in the recent period.
Russian Market Lost
For a while Russia became a customer for U.S. dry beans. Then the shipments fell from 3,742 tons in 2000 to only 980 tons in 2001, which included 122 tons in the first ten months of 2001. No U.S. edible beans were exported to Russia in the recent period. Relatively favorable weather for crops led to a rebound for Russian production of pulse crops, particularly dry peas. This apparently pushed down their demand for imported pulses, or made it more difficult to justify food aid arrangements. Yet, there are places in Russia where food aid deliveries of U.S. dry beans would be very welcome.
Algeria Shifts To Competitors
U.S. exports of dry beans to Algeria dropped about a third in the recent period to 10,713 tons. That included smaller shipments of Great Northern beans to Algeria. During calendar 2001, U.S. exports of dry beans to Algeria had increased 34.5 percent to 17,862 tons.
Significant Gains To Some Countries In Africa
Consumers in Rwanda prefer edible beans over imported peas. U.S. exports of dry beans to Rwanda nearly doubled in the recent period, reaching 1,622 tons. U.S. exports of dry beans to Malawi reached 1,400 tons in the recent period compared with no shipments in all 2001. U.S. exports of dry beans to Kenya tripled in the recent period, reaching 3,900 tons, valued at $2.3 million. U.S. shipments of beans to Angola rose 16.7 percent in the recent period to 9,684 tons.
It has been reported that unemployment has climbed sharply in Zimbabwe. Drought in 2002 reduced the corn crop by half, which reduced the supply of a major food item. Zimbabwe received about $500 million annually from exports of tobacco in the last three years. Unless some stability is restored for tobacco farms taken away from previous owners, a major source of foreign exchange will be in jeopardy. U.S. exports of dry beans to Zimbabwe reached 1609 tons, valued at $802,000 in the recent period, compared with none during 1999-01. Zimbabwe had been an exporter of about 3,000 tons of beans during some years of the late 1990s.
Smaller Shipments To Middle East Markets
U.S. exports of dry beans to Turkey tumbled by 82.5 percent in the recent period to 103 tons. During 2001, U.S. dry bean shipments to Turkey fell by 74 percent to 590 tons. The transit trade for U.S. beans through Turkey to Iraq has apparently dried up. Iraq had been a market for 32,056 tons of U.S. dry beans in 1997 and 16,000 tons in 1998. Since the 1998 deliveries, no U.S. Great Northern beans have been shipped to Iraq. The consumers in Iraq appear to be getting less than half the beans they were in 1997. China has been sending an average of about 23,000 tons of dry beans annually to Iraq.
U.S. Share Of Japan's Bean Imports Falling
Japan is the leading destination for China's edible bean exports with deliveries of large quantities of Red Adzuki and mung beans. Burma is a supplier of several types of beans, including limas. U.S. exports of edible beans to Japan fell by a tenth in the recent period to 10,873 tons. The U.S. share of Japan's total imports of beans fell to about 8 percent in 2002, compared with an average of about 12 percent during 1998-01.
Exports To Korea Doubled
U.S. exports of edible beans to South Korea doubled in the recent period, reaching 3,251 tons. Yet, China remained far in the lead among the suppliers of South Korea's bean imports.
Exports To Caribbean Fluctuate
U.S. exports of edible beans to Dominican Republic rose 14.8 percent in the recent period to 8,261 tons. However, deliveries to the important food aid market of Haiti fell by a fourth to 14,442 tons in the recent period, compared with the first eleven months of 2001.
Canadian Purchases Down
U.S. exports of edible beans to Canada dropped about 3 percent in the recent period at 14,745 tons. Canada had a rebound for dry bean production in 2002, although the harvest of dry peas and chickpeas fell because of lower yields.
Australian Purchases Up
U.S. exports of dry beans to Australia rose 6 percent in the recent period to 3,438 tons. Dry weather reduced yields for Australian pulse crops in 2002. This limited supplies of broad beans for export.