China's soya bean imports in June from top supplier Brazil soared to a record high, according to customs data released on Sunday, driven by growing demand for soya beans as China's pig herd recovers after deadly outbreaks of African swine fever.
The world's top soya bean buyer brought in 10.51 million tons of the oilseed from Brazil in June, up 91% from 5.5 million tons in the previous year, data from the General Administration of Customs showed. The June figures were also up 18.6% from May at 8.86 million tons.
China's overall soya bean imports in June were a record 11.16 million tons as Chinese processors also made the most of lower Brazilian prices as better weather facilitated exports.
China brought in 267,553 tons of soya beans from the United States in June, down 56.5% from 614,805 tons in the previous year. Imports fell 45.6% from 491,697 tons in May.
China has stepped up purchases of US farm produce including soya beans, and will need to ramp up purchases dramatically to fulfill its pledge under a phase 1 trade deal the two sides signed in January.
Some Chinese crushers in the south were struggling with bulging inventories due to arrivals of beans, while heavy rains and flooding in recent weeks curbed demand from the animal farming sector.
Crushing plants in the north are doing better thanks to demand from the recovering pig herd, according to importers. Inventories are expected to remain high in coming months as shipments from Brazil remain large.
China's national weekly soya bean inventories reached 7.39 million tons by Jul 21, their highest since November 2018, and more than double a record low in late March, when soya bean arrivals from Brazil fell after bad weather slowed exports. National soy meal stocks also rose to more than 1 million tons earlier this month, up from a record low of 139,000 tons in April.