China July soybean imports climb on feed demand

Delayed hog slaughter led to increased demand
calendar icon 9 August 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

China's July soybean imports jumped by almost one-quarter from a year ago, official data showed, boosted by improved demand in the world's biggest buyer, especially for use in animal feed, and by higher arrivals from Brazil, reported Reuters.

China imported 9.73 million metric tons of soybeans in July, up 23.5% from a year ago, customs data showed on Tuesday. Arrivals for the first seven months of the year came to 62.3 million metric tons, up 15% from a year earlier.

The increase was driven by higher demand for soymeal, a protein-rich animal feed ingredient made from soybeans, and for cooking oil, analysts said.

Chinese hog farmers delayed the slaughter of pigs due to low pork prices, which in turn increased demand for animal feed, said Wang Mingwei, a Hangzhou-based analyst at Dayue Futures.

The arrival of cargoes, after delays due to a late soybean harvest in Brazil and tightened customs inspections in China, contributed to the rise in July imports.

Crush margins in China have been positive since mid-June, with crushers in the key processing hub of Rizhao making 277.67 yuan ($38.51) for each tonne of soybean processed.

China's hog inventories rose 1.1% year-on-year to 435.17 million in the first half of the year, data from China's agriculture ministry showed, although hog farmers have been losing money due to oversupply and weak demand.

Spot hog prices have risen since the end of July as heavy rainfall in northern China hampered the transport of pigs.

Soymeal prices in China have risen 23% since the end of May, hovering at 4,500 yuan per metric ton.

($1 = 7.2103 yuan)

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