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May 26, 2020 | FBN Insights | Kevin McNew

China’s April Soybean Imports Down 12%

Country bought 665,591 tonnes of soybeans from the U.S. in April, down 62% from last year

China's April Soybean Imports Down 12% 

  • China sourced 5.9 million tonnes of soybeans from Brazil in April, up 2.6% from 5.8 million tonnes last year.
  • China bought 665,591 tonnes of soybeans from the U.S. in April, down 62% from 1.75 million tonnes in the same month a year earlier.
  • China’s total April soybean imports fell 12% to 6.7 million tonnes from last year.
  • China's soybean and soymeal inventories fell to historical lows as a result, forcing some crushers to curb production. 

FBN’s Take On What It Means: China has urged state and private importers to expand supplies of major crops, including soybeans, to prepare for any further disruptions from the global pandemic. Late last week, Chinese trade officials reiterated the country’s commitment to fulfill their obligations under the Phase 1 trade deal despite rising US/China political tensions. However, no large purchases were reported by exporters last week, and it will likely take much larger increases in China’s buying to help sustain a bounce in soybean prices. 

Biofuel Trade Group Asks Administration to Deny Retroactive Waiver Requests

  • An earlier court decision has created uncertainty over the status of the large number of waivers that the administration's EPA has issued in recent years.
  • The ruling mandates that any exemptions to blending laws granted to small refineries after 2010 must take the form of an "extension."
  • The Energy Department stated the EPA has asked them to review waiver requests from refiners covering past years.

FBN’s Take On What It Means: Refiners’ petitions for waivers in past years comes at time when the biofuel industry is just starting to recover from intense demand destruction due to the coronavirus epidemic, and continues to put two of the administration’s key supporters against each other. Corn use for ethanol production accounts for nearly 40% of annual US corn demand, and fuel blending requirements are not expected to change much from previous years. Any waivers that can impact ending stocks which are already seen as burdensome would be unwelcome.

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