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China’s wheat imports fall as elevated prices hurt demand

China’s wheat imports in September plunged from the previous year, customs data showed on Monday, as elevated international wheat prices and falling domestic corn prices curbed demand for overseas shipments.

China brought in 640,000 tonnes of wheat in September, down 44.8% from a year earlier, data from the General Administration of Customs showed, as international cargoes lost price advantage, traders said.

“The value of (imports) is getting less obvious, while quality got bad,” said a trader with a domestic buyer.

Domestic corn prices have fallen, which also reduced demand, as China had been stepping up wheat imports mainly to replace corn in feed, added the trader, who declined to be named as he was not authorized to talk to the media.

Wheat from France, a significant supplier to China, was hit by rains this season.

China’s imports of various feed grains from corn to barley have surged in the past year, as prices of domestic corn soared on falling stocks and output.

Chinese corn has got cheaper lately, however, leading some feed producers to switch back to using more of the yellow grain, while cutting the ratio of other substitutes, including wheat.

International wheat prices, in the meanwhile, hit eight-year highs in August and remained elevated. Wv1

China’s grains imports in total were at 13.75 million tonnes, down 3.6% from a year earlier, according to the customs data.

The data did not provide a breakdown on the origins of the imports. Data on soybean imports in September was released earlier this month.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Hallie Gu, Beijing Newsroom, and Shivani Singh, Editing by Louise Heavens)

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