March 12, 2024


China's soybean imports hit five-year low in January-February period


China's soybean imports for the first two months of the year totalled 13.04 million metric tonnes, marking the lowest volume for the period in five years, according to customs data, Reuters reported.


China's General Administration of Customs said imports during January and February, by the world's leading oilseed purchaser, declined by 8.8% compared to the same period last year.


This import volume represents the lowest recorded for the January-February period since 2019.


The customs authority also revised soybean import figures for January-February 2023, now reported at 14.30 million metric tonnes, down from the initially published 16.17 million metric tonnes.


China's practice of consolidating import data for January and February aims to mitigate the influence of the Lunar New Year holidays, which can occur in either month annually.


The nation's soybean demand for livestock feed might face challenges this year due to efforts to regulate swine production capacity following an overexpansion of farms, resulting in surplus swine and financial losses.


To address this issue, China has reduced its national target for maintaining breeding sow numbers to 39 million from the previous 41 million, a move expected to decrease the size of the world's largest swine herd by approximately 22 million.


Meanwhile, soybean harvesting in major producing countries such as Brazil and Argentina have progressed well, with forecasts indicating ample supply.


Although analysts have revised Brazilian estimates downward in recent weeks, the country remains well-supplied with beans following a record crop last season, surpassing US sales to China.


-      Reuters

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