China’s August Soy Imports From US Surge as Cargos Clear Customs

September 25, 2019Updated: September 25, 2019

BEIJING—China’s soybean imports from the United States in August rose six-fold from a year earlier, customs data showed on Sept. 25, as cargos purchased earlier amid an easing in the trade dispute between the countries cleared customs.

China, the world’s top buyer of soybeans, brought in 1.68 million tonnes of the oilseed from the United States in August, up from 265,377 tonnes a year ago. That was up 84 percent from last month’s 911,888 tonnes, according to data released by the General Administration of Customs.

Soybean imports from the United States dried up in the second half of 2018, after Beijing slapped a 25 percent tariff on a list of American products including soybeans last July, amid a tit-for-tat trade war.

But Chinese state firms resumed purchases of some 14 million tonnes of the oilseed from U.S. farmers starting in December during a temporary truce in the spat.

Those purchases eased after the trade tensions between Beijing and Washington increased, before Chinese firms made two big purchases of U.S. beans this month ahead of high level talks next month.

China’s August soybean imports from top supplier Brazil were 6.68 million tonnes, down from last year’s 7.95 million tonnes, but up slightly from 6.42 million tonnes in July.

Shipments from Argentina increased to 654,555 tonnes, up 19.5 percent from 547,942 tonnes last year, data showed.

China’s soybean demand has been checked by a year-old outbreak of African swine fever that has decimated the country’s pig herd, the world’s biggest.

The table below shows China’s soybean imports from Brazil, the United States, and Argentina in August 2019, according to the customs data.

By Hallie Gu and Dominique Patton

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