January 21, 2021
China's 2020 US soybean imports rose 52.8% compared to 2019, but short of trade target
China's General Administration of Customs data showed soybean imports from the United States increased 52.8% in 2020 compared to 2019, but the imports fell short of China's pledge in the Phase 1 deal agreed between both countries, Reuters reported.
China purchased 25.89 million tonnes of US soybeans in 2020, up from 16.94 million tonnes in 2019. The US is China's second biggest supplier of the oilseed.
Chinese purchasers bought more US agriculture products to meet China's pledge to buy US$36.5 million worth of farm goods under the US-China Phase 1 trade deal signed in January last year.
Soybean purchases were projected to account for half of the target, with China estimated to buy 40 million tonnes of the oilseed to fulfill its part of the pledge.
China also boosted soybean purchases as it quickly replenished its massive swine herd decimated by African swine fever outbreaks since 2018.
Data from China's General Administration of Customs showed December US soybean imports were 5.84 million tonnes, higher than the 3.09 million tonnes in December 2019.
China's imports of Brazilian soybeans in 2020 hit 64.28 million tonnes. This is a 11.46% increase compared to 57.67 million tonnes of soybeans in 2019 and close to two-thirds of total annual imports.
China imported a record 100.33 million tonnes of soybeans in 2020, and is expected to import more of the oilseed this year thanks to strong demand and crush margins.
Soybean crushers based in Rizhao, Shandong province, a major soybean processing hub, stand to earn RMB 237 (~US$36.64; RMB 1 = US$0.15) per tonnes of soybeans crushed. This is roughly two times higher than one year ago.