BEIJING, March 20 (Reuters) – China’s soybean imports from Brazil fell sharply in the first two months of 2021 compared to the same period last year, customs data showed on Saturday, as rain delayed some shipments from the top exporter.
China, the world’s biggest soybean buyer, brought in 1.03 million tonnes of oilseed from Brazil in Jan-Feb, down nearly 80% from 5.14 million tonnes a year earlier, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.
Rain in Brazil has slowed harvests and exports in the South American country, forcing some crushers in China to consider limiting operations.
Shipments from the United States to China in Jan-Feb totaled 11.9 million tonnes, nearly double the volume of 6.1 million tonnes a year earlier.
China increased purchases of US agricultural products, including soybeans, after the two sides signed an initial trade deal in January 2020.
China’s total soybean imports in the first two months of 2021 fell 0.8% to 13.41 million tonnes.
Its appetite for oilseeds is expected to continue to increase thanks to favorable margins and healthy demand from the rapidly recovering pig sector.
New cases of African swine fever in recent months, however, have cast doubt on pork production in the country, and raised concerns over demand for soymeal, the most important protein ingredient in animal feed.
Chinese crusher brings soybeans to be crushed into soymeal, and for cooking oil.
The crusher in Rizhao, Shandong, a major soybean processing center, CNSOY-RZO-MRG could produce about 158 yuan ($ 24.28) for each tonne of oilseed they crushed on March 19, well above the historical average for the past 10 years. ($ 1 = 6,5070 Chinese yuan renminbi)
Reporting by Hallie Gu and Emily Chow; Edited by Kim Coghill