China’s soybean imports, which are mainly sourced from Brazil, fell in 2021 from the previous year, the first annual drop since 2018, customs data showed.
China, the world’s top buyer of soybeans, brought in 96.52 million tonnes of the oilseed in the 12 months of 2021, down 3.8% from 100.33 million tonnes in 2020, data from the General Administration of Customs showed, as falling hog margins and increased wheat feeding curbed demand.
December imports, however, climbed 18% compared with the same month a year earlier, coming in at 8.87 million tonnes, the data also showed.
According to data from the Ministry of Economy’s Foreign Trade Secretariat (Secex), China imported 58.393 million tons of soybeans from Brazil from January to October 2021, 4% less than that purchased in 2020, after record highs last year. The country is the biggest buyer of the Brazilian oilseed.
Chinese soybean imports climbed to an annual record in 2020 as crushers ramped up purchases on good crush margins thanks to healthy demand from a pig herd rapidly recovering from outbreaks of African swine fever.
Chinese feed producers stepped up purchases of wheat to replace corn in 2021, as prices of the latter grain soared to record high levels. Demand for wheat as feedstock eased later as corn prices fell following a bumper harvest while wheat prices rose.