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China's October soybean imports slide to lowest in 8 years

The country's imports of soybeans fell 19% as buyers cut purchases.

2 Lisa Selfie December 2020 Headshot
Polina Tankilevitch | PEXELS
Polina Tankilevitch | PEXELS

China’s imports of soybeans fell 19% in October from a year earlier to 4.14 million tonnes, customs data showed on Monday, hitting their lowest for any month since 2014, after buyers cut purchases amid high global prices and poor crush margins.

Reuters reports imports by China were 73.18 million tonnes for the first 10 months of the year, down 7.4% from last year, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.

The very low shipments, matching the October 2014 figure of 4.1 million tonnes, underline an urgent need to rebuild stockpiles.

The situation has left China short of supplies now that hog profits have recovered and boosted demand for the key protein ingredient, soymeal.

In September, the country announced it was cutting the amount of soybeans used in animal feed. China's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MOA) said the reduction was aimed at ensuring China's food security amid uncertain external supplies.

Chicago soybean futures retreat

In related news, Reuters reports that Chicago soybeans futures slid on Monday, dropping from previous session's six-week high, after China denied it was considering easing its zero-COVID policy amid declining purchases by the world's top importer.

Prospects for China to ease some of its COVID-19 restrictions had lent support to soybeans and other markets on Friday.

Soybean planting in Argentina's core farm belt region is far behind last year's pace due to a lack of rain, the Rosario grains exchange said in a report on Friday.

The protracted drought, linked to a third straight La Nina climate pattern, has hammered wheat production and now threatens to affect the upcoming soy and corn season, with farmers likely to invest less in planting unless conditions improve.

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