China, the world’s top soya buyer, imported 7.78 million tonnes of the oilseed in August, up 29 percent from a year earlier, but down 18.1 percent from July’s record shipments as cheap supplies from South American producers petered out, official customs data showed on Tuesday. Imports in the first eight months of the year rose 9.8 percent to 52.39 million tonnes, a record high for the period, data published by the General Administration of Customs showed.
Chinese crushers stocked up on cheap supplies from South American producers by shipping record volumes since June, with soya stocks at ports rising to the highest since August 2014 at 6.54 million tonnes by the end of last week. Imports are likely to fall further this month and October before supplies from the United States, the world’s No 2 exporter, arrive in the market, largely from November.
China’s soya imports in September were projected to fall to about 6.47 million tonnes, according to estimates by the China National Grain and Oils Information Centre (CNGOIC), an official think-tank. “Shipments from Brazil are decreasing from June’s peak. Crushers are still waiting for US soya prices to fall further before they increase purchases,” said Monica Tu, analyst with Shanghai JC Intelligence. Crushers are likely to step up purchases from the United States on expectation of better crushing margins after US soya prices dropped more than 15 percent over the past month.
“We are not going to see record imports that we saw in July but purchases will remain strong as domestic margins for processing soyabeans are quite profitable,” said Paul Deane, senior agricultural economist at ANZ Bank. The depreciation of China’s yuan against the US dollar will have a limited impact on imports, but it will increase costs for soya crushers, which are likely to pass the rising costs downstream, industry analysts said. China’s soya crushers rely heavily on imports, buying over 60 percent of global-traded volume.