November 11, 2011
China's soy imports in October fell to a seven-month low of 3.81 million tonnes, as domestic crushers delayed shipments, preferring to wait for global prices to fall further amid sluggish domestic sales.
Data from the General Administration of Customs showed October exports were 40% lower than the Ministry of Commerce's forecast of 6.39 million tonnes. The ministry estimated November soy imports at 5.17 million tonnes, based on importers' reports.
"Many domestic crushers asked to delay shipments amid a sharp decline in CBOT [Chicago Board of Trade] prices in September," analysts said, adding that many market participants were expecting increased availability of US soy, and hence lower prices in the near term.
October soy imports were down 8% from September, but up 2% from a year earlier, the customs data showed Thursday (Nov 10). Imports usually dip in October due to delayed customs clearances as a result of the weeklong National Day holiday at the start of the month.
Total imports from January to October fell 5.4% to 41.52 million tonnes, Customs said.
Besides price factors, crushers may have delayed, or even cancelled, shipments due to poor domestic sales of feedmeal and soyoil, experts said.
The government's massive sales of state soy and edible oil reserves resulted in negative profit margins for crushers over the last nine months and also led to a high inventories of imported soy at ports.
In the marketing year that ended September 30, China sold 2.1 million tonnes of edible oil and 2.6 million tonnes of soy from state reserves, the state-backed China National Grain and Oils Information Centre has said.