April 15, 2021
China's soybean and grains imports in Q1 2021 up thanks to strong demand
Data from China's General Administration of Customs showed China's soybean, corn, and wheat imports increased in the first quarter of 2021 thanks to strong demand from the livestock industry, Reuters reported.
The data showed China imported 7.77 million tonnes of soybean in March 2021, 82% higher compared to March 2020, as Brazilian soybean cargoes cleared customs after delays.
First quarter corn and wheat imports also increased due to higher domestic corn prices because of local corn supply shortage, according to the data.
Xie Huilan, analyst with agriculture consultancy Cofeed, told Reuters that soybean arrivals in the first two months of this year were lower than market expectations because of cargo delays. Xie said more than 5 million tonnes of soybeans from the United States have been loaded in January, only arriving in China in March.
The customs data did not show import figures for corn and wheat in March, but said China imported 6.727 million tonnes of corn and 2.925 million tonnes of wheat in the first quarter of this year. This data is usually published in the later half of the month. China's corn imports this year were five times higher year-on-year, while wheat imports more than doubled.
According to customs data, China's soybean imports between January to March 2021 reached 21.18 million tonnes, 19% higher compared to 17.79 million tonnes in the same period last year.
China's soybean crushers boosted purchases of the oilseed due to good crushing margins as the market estimated healthy demand from a recovering swine industry.
But a major African swine fever (ASF) outbreak may have decimated 20% of swine breeding herd in northern China, based on some estimates, resulting in lower demand for soymeal.
Dalian Commodity Exchange soymeal futures dropped 10% since reaching record highs in January due to the ASF outbreaks.
China's national weekly soybean meal inventories were at 797,900 tonnes as of April 13, higher than the 477,000 tonnes reported at the end of January this year. Soybean stocks dropped to 4.4 million tonnes.