Soybean imports by China, the world's biggest buyer, fell in June from May after processors delayed some shipments because of lower profit margins.
Inbound shipments were 4.3 million tonnes last month, the customs office said yesterday. That compared with 4.6 million tonnes in May, and is a 31 per cent plunge from June 2010.
China's imports of soybeans have slowed this year as a reduction in hog inventory led to a decline in feed demand, forcing crushing plants to reduce operations. The slowdown in shipments to China has helped drive a 3.9 per cent decline in price of the commodity traded in Chicago this year.
"This confirms the market's belief that still more shipments have been delayed possibly until next year," Chen Baomin, a manager at Jilin Grain Group, said. "The market was expecting a slight gain, so this may help ease the supply pressure a bit."
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Soybeans for November delivery last closed at $13.4625 (Dh49.4478) a bushel. The most-active futures still gained 41 per cent amid concerns that the growth in world food demand is outstripping production gains. Inventory at China's major ports is still about 6.5 million tonnes, near the record 7 million tonnes, Chen said.
The country is forecast to import 54 million tonnes of the oilseed in the year through to September 30, according to the US Department of Agriculture.
China's soybean shipments in July may be 4.8 million tonnes, the Ministry of Commerce said.