Rising animal feed demand boosts China’s soybean imports

10 Aug 2023

Rising animal feed demand boosts China’s soybean imports

Soybean imports by China in July surged due to demand for animal feed and larger shipments from Brazil.

According to official data, China witnessed a nearly 25% rise in soybean imports in July compared to the previous year. This growth was primarily fueled by heightened demand from the world’s leading buyer, particularly for animal feed purposes.Notably, a significant portion of these imports originated from Brazil.

China imported 9.73 million tons of soybeans in July, which represents a 23.5% increase from the previous year, as per customs data released on Tuesday. The influx during the initial seven months of the year totaled 62.3 million tons, indicating a 15% upswing compared to the previous year.

According to analysts, this rise was instigated by heightened requests for soybean meal, a protein-rich component used in animal feed, sourced from soybeans, in addition to cooking oil.

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Chinese pig producers delayed pig slaughtering due to low pork prices, which in turn boosted demand for animal feed, said Wang Mingwei, an analyst at Dayue Futures in Hangzhou.

The surge in July imports was aided by the arrival of shipments, which came after delays resulting from a postponed soybean harvest in Brazil and increased customs scrutiny in China.

Since mid-June, the crushing margins in China have remained favorable, as crushers at the primary processing hub in Rizhao have been receiving 277.67 yuan ($38.51) for every ton of processed soybeans.

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China’s pig stocks increased by 1.1% compared to the previous year, reaching 435.17 million in the first half of the year, according to data from China’s Ministry of Agriculture. However, pig farmers are facing losses due to oversupply and weak demand.

Pig prices have increased since late July, as substantial rains in northern China have hindered animal transportation.

Since the end of May, soybean meal prices in China have surged by 23%, reaching a level of 4,500 yuan per ton.

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