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China’s April soybean imports from Brazil surge vs previous month

China’s soybean imports from Brazil surged in April from the previous month, customs data showed on Thursday, boosted by the arrival of cargoes that were ordered earlier in the year but delayed after rain hit the Brazilian crop.

The world’s top importer of soybeans brought in 5.08 million tonnes of the oilseed from leading supplier Brazil in April, sharply up from only 315,334 tonnes in March, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.

But the figure was still below 5.939 million tonnes in the same month last year.

Chinese crushers stepped up purchases of soybeans earlier this year in expectation of increasing demand for animal feed from the steadily recovering pig sector. Rain, however, delayed the harvest and exports from Brazil.

Buyers turned to the United States to fill the gap, with China taking 2.15 million tonnes of U.S. soybeans in April, more than three times the 665,591 tonnes shipped in same month a year ago, but well down from 7.18 million tonnes in March.

“China made purchases of U.S. soybeans when weather delayed cargoes in Brazil,” said an industry source who follows the soybean market closely.

“Brazilian soybeans should be arriving in May in a concentrated manner,” said the source, who declined to be named as she was not authorized to talk to the media.

China’s soybean imports in April from all origins were 7.45 million tonnes, up 11% from the previous year in expectation of strong demand from the livestock sector.

However, fresh African swine fever outbreaks and a shift to using more wheat for animal feed has curbed the demand for soymeal.

Chinese authorities also issued guidelines last month recommending the reduction of corn and soymeal in pig and poultry feed, a measure that could reshape the flow of grains into the world’s top corn and soybean buyer.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Hallie Gu and Shivani Singh; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell and Richard Pullin)

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