Chinese soybean imports rose by only 2.7%, the slowest pace in years, over 2016, official customs data showed.
According to US Department of Agriculture figures, Chinese soybean imports grew by some 7% in 2015, and 13% in 2014.
China imported 9.0m tonnes of soybeans in December, bringing total soybean imports in 2016 to 83.9m tonnes.
This was the highest in a year, up 14.8% from November’s figures, but still a touch down from last December, which traditionally sees heavy imports ahead of the Chinese New Year holiday.
But soybean imports could be set to get a boost from rising tariffs on US dried distillers grain imports.
Since September of last year, anti-dumping duties have been imposed on imports from the US, the world’s main exporter of the high-protein residue from ethanol production, which is used in animal feed.
This week a final ruling formalised and increased tarrifs on DDGSs.
The move was seen as bullish for soybean futures, as without DDG’s, feed mills will have to up their use of soymeal, produced from domestically-crushed soybeans.
Tight animal feed market
Kim Rugel, at Benson Quinn Commodities, noted that “tight domestic animal feed market was seen supporting China’s domestic meal market and therefore soybean imports”.
On Thursday the think tank China National Grain and Oils Information Centre saw Chinese imports falling below 1m tonnes in the 2016-17, compared to a previous estimate of 2m tonnes.
And the think tank said that that the fall in imports, due to the duties on US supplies, would likely boost demand for soybeans.
(Source – http://www.agrimoney.com/news/chinese-soybean-imports-barely-grow-in-2016…–10339.html)