May 12, 2021


China's soybean imports up 11% on year in April 2021


China's April soybean imports are up 11% compared to the same month last year as delayed Brazilian shipments of the oilseed arrive, according to data from the General Administration of Customs, Reuters reported.


Customs data showed China imported 7.45 million tonnes of soybeans in April this year, compared to 6.714 million tonnes in April 2020.


Darin Friedrichs, senior analyst at StoneX, said this was a fairly strong number as there has been delayed shipments from Brazil this year. He expects May imports to be stronger as most of the delayed shipments should be arriving.


Soybean crushers in China have increased imports of the oilseed from Brazil and the United States in early this year, projected higher demand as China's swine industry steadily recovers.


However, rains in Brazil have delayed the harvest and export of soybeans, which resulted in a decline in shipments to China in March. Importers in China looked to the United States to make up the losses.


Traders and analysts said soybean exports from Brazil were projected to dominate the China market from April to late 2021.


Zou Honglin, analyst with trade website, said imports from Brazil in April were lower than market expectations due to delays there. 


Between January to April 2021, China imported 28.63 million tonnes of soybeans. This is 17% higher compared to same period in 2020, based on customs data.


Soybean crushing margins fell into negative territory in late March because of a new African swine fever outbreak and higher use of wheat as livestock feed affected demand for soymeal.


The past few weeks saw margins improved as demand recovered, but they remain in check by surging international soybean prices.


A manager with a crusher in southern China, speaking before the data release, said demand in April was projected to be 10% to 15% higher from March from swine farming, but soybean crushers are still losing money as raw material prices are too high. The manager declined to be named as he was not permitted to speak to the media.


- Reuters