August 10, 2021
Decline in China's July soybean imports
China's soybean imports fell in July from the same period the previous year, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on August 7, as poor crushing margins weighed on demand.
The world's top buyer of the oilseed brought in 8.67 million tonnes of soybeans in July, down 14.1% from 10.09 million tonnes the previous year, as sliding hog margins curbed appetite for soymeal.
For the first seven months of the year, soybean shipments totaled 57.63 million tonnes, up 4.5% from the same period in the previous year.
Chinese crushers bring in soybeans to crush into soymeal to feed the country's massive livestock herds and make cooking oil.
Buyers stepped up purchases of soybeans early in the year, on anticipation of strong demand from a fast recovering pig herd.
But soybean demand was expected to slow over the rest of the year, as falling hog margins and more wheat substitution in feed crimped appetite for soymeal, according to analysts and traders.
Crushing margins in Rizhao, Shandong province, a major processing hub in eastern China hit their lowest levels on record in June this year, before climbing back up.
Crushers there still lose more than ¥200 (US$30.96) with each tonne of soybeans processed.
Hog margins remained in negative territory at minus ¥201 (US$31) per tonne in Heilongjiang, a major pig producer in the northeastern region.