November 12, 2008
China's soy imports in October fell 25 percent on-year, but are expected to increase this month as shipping costs slipped.
A total of 2.13 million tonnes of soy were imported in October, down 48 percent from September. The drop is partly due to advanced customs clearance by some buyers to enjoy a lower tariff rate of 1 percent that expired at the end of September, said traders.
Soy imports in November are expected to increase more than 3 million tonnes as a slip in shipping costs has made the commodity cheaper for Chinese soy importers.
Soy crushers prefer the cheaper imported soy to domestic soy that was bought by the government at higher-than-market prices. Beijing's purchase of 1.5 million tonnes of domestic soy meant farmers were unwilling to sell their harvest below the RMB 3,700 per tonne price offered by the government.
Despite the fall, soy imports during the Jan-Oct period rose 25.6 percent to 30.82 million tonnes, said the China Customs Administration.
The government bought about 200,000 tonnes of soy imports in October for reserves, and 300,000 tonnes would arrive this month, traders said.
The government has about 1 million tonnes of imported soy in its reserves and the amount is expected to reach 2 million tonnes by year-end, according to traders.