China’s soybean imports in August fell slightly from the same month a year earlier, as poor domestic crush margins weighed on demand, data from China’s customs agency showed on Tuesday.
The world’s top soybean importer brought in 9.49 million mt of the oilseed in August, slightly lower than 9.6 million mt registered a year ago, but up by 9.4% from the 8.67 million mt imported in July 2021.
China’s crush margins remained weak in August, though they have improved from their rock-bottom level in June when high international soybean prices and low domestic demand from the feed industry hit their economics.
The plunge in hog margins dampened purchases of soymeal, which is one of the primary sources of pig feed.
Data from China’s General Administration of Customs showed soybean imports between January and August in 2021 came in at 67.1 million mt, up 3.6% from the same period last year.
The increase came as China’s crushers snapped up soybeans from across global origins in the early months of the year, on an expectation of solid demand from the rapid recovery of the pig industry as it bounced back from African swine fever.
At the same time, China imported 758,000 mt of meat in August, pushing the total volume imported between January through to August this year to 6.69 million mt, slightly down from the 6.58 million mt recorded in the same period last year.