China’s annual soybean imports from Brazil decline for second consecutive year

Volumes shipped from Brazil reached 54.39 million tonnes in 2022, down 6.45% from the previous year

China’s soybean imports from Brazil fell in 2022 for the second year in a row, data from China’s General Administration of Customs showed on Friday, January 20.

Soybean volumes from Brazil reached 54.39 million tonnes in 2022, down 6.45% against the previous year.

Imports from other key suppliers, US and Argentina, also slipped as weakened demand amid a year of Covid-related disruptions and higher domestic production weighed on imports.

For 2022, China purchased 29.5 million tonnes of soybeans from the US, an 8.48% drop from the previous year, while imports from Argentina fell by 2.08% to 3.65 million tonnes.

Poor crush margins for most of the year had also kept demand from Chinese crushers constrained, with demand for feed from hog farmers also reduced amid poor farming margins.

View our data analysis of soybean crush margins

China’s soybean imports in December from its key suppliers, however, rose across the board, with imports from the US notably rising by 78.03% on the month to 6.02 million tonnes, 0.77% lower than last year.

December volumes from Brazil came in at 2.56 million tonnes, 1.1% higher on the month and 21.2% more compared to a year ago.

Meanwhile, soybean imports from Argentina rose 26.5% against November to 1.46 million tonnes.

This was 331.6% higher than the previous year, with China having stepped up its buying from Argentina in the last few months of 2022 on the back of Argentina’s ‘soy dollar’ instrument policy which made prices of Argentine soybeans more attractive against its competitors.

December’s soybean imports were also higher by 43.7% against November at 10.56 million tonnes, as slower cargo loading and longer clearance times at customs slowed arrivals in November and rolled into December.

For the 2022-23 marketing year, China’s agricultural outlook committee had kept its estimates for soybean imports unchanged at 95.2 million tonnes while raising production to 20.29 million tonnes from the previous 19.48 million tonnes in its latest China Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates (Casde) update.

View our soybean price data

What to read next
Soybean front-month July futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) rebounded on Friday May 10 with support from soybean oil and despite estimates of ample offer and ending stocks for the 2024/25 crop in the latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report.
Argentina is on track to regain its position as the largest soy meal exporter in 2023-2024, with its soybean crop  – which has nearly doubled in size – starting to be harvested, but the country faces increasing competition from Brazil and the US for global market share, Fastmarkets understands.
The recent shift is supported by the country's increased biodiesel blending mandate and there are moves to raise it further in the coming years
As the Intercontinental Exchange launches the first RBD soybean oil futures contract, David Becker explains the advantages of having an exchange-traded derivative and how this will help protect against price volatility
Grains and soybean Prices have been dropping amid ample offers despite lower-than-expected output in 2023-2024
Brazil's agricultural exports soared in the first week of March, which underscores the country's pivotal role in global food supply