December 22, 2011
China imported 34.8% less US soy in November than last year, as South American supplies cut into the US share of China's market, according to the General Administration of Customs Wednesday (Dec 21).
That compared with robust annual import growth of 39.4% from the US a year ago.
In November, China imported 2.467 million tonnes of soy from the US, which is on track to be eclipsed by Brazil as the world's largest exporter of the oilseed.
The dramatic shift in market share comes at the beginning of the peak sales season for the US. China's imports from Brazil were up 92% on-year at 1.33 million tonnes, and those from Argentina jumped 87.6% to 1.7 million tonnes.
China imported a total of 5.69 million tonnes in November, the second highest monthly import level ever. Crushers increased imports to replenish low stocks at home as crushing margins improved.
In the first 11 months of the year, Brazil had surpassed the US as the largest exporter to China, with exports up 6.8% on-year at 19.8 million tonnes, while the US exported 18.75 million tonnes, up 0.24 % on-year. China imported a total of 47 million tonnes in the period.
China's soy imports in 2011 were expected to decrease for the first time since 2004, as Beijing released a large volume of soy and edible oil from reserves to cool food inflation in the first half of the year, which had hurt crushing margins at soy plants.
China is expected to import 52 million tonnes of soy in 2011, down 5.1% from 2010, according to an estimate by the official China National Grain and Oils Information Centre.