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Chinese Soybean Imports Fell 13 Percent on Year
USAgNet - 02/20/2019

China's soybean imports fell 13 percent in January from the same month a year earlier, customs data showed on Thursday, as a hefty duty imposed on shipments from the United States, its second-largest supplier, curbed purchases.

Reuters reports that China brought in 7.38 million tonnes of soybeans in January, down from 8.48 million tonnes a year earlier, preliminary data from the General Administration of Customs showed. January's imports were up 29 percent from 5.72 million tonnes in December.

"The figures were higher than expected. It was mainly because some cargoes delayed in December cleared customs in January. They were mainly Brazilian beans," said Monica Tu, analyst with Shanghai JC Intelligence Co.

China, the world's top soybean buyer, typically imports the majority of its oilseeds from the United States in the period October-January after the U.S. harvest comes to market.

However, purchases of American soybeans plummeted through 2018 as buyers avoided U.S. cargoes amid tariffs and a trade war between Beijing and Washington. The customs department doesn't disclose the origin of imports in its preliminary data, Reuters reports.

The two countries then agreed a trade truce on Dec. 1, and Chinese firms have so far bought about 10 million tonnes of U.S. soybeans for delivery in the first months of 2019, although a 25 percent tariff on U.S. shipments remains in place.

Imports of the oilseed are expected to rise in coming months as the new harvest from Brazil enters the market and as more U.S. shipments clear customs, analysts have said.

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