China’s monthly soybean imports rose to a two-year high of 5.87 million tonnes in July despite an ongoing drought in the United States that has pushed up global soybean prices since mid-June, according to customs data released .
Statistics from the General Administration of Customs showed that July’s soybean imports increased by 4.4 percent from the previous month to reach 5.87 million tonnes, the highest monthly level since June 2010.
Chinese soybean importers have rushed to build up their stocks in the first half, as global soybean prices were lower than in the previous year, according to China’s (Xinhua) News Agency.
In the first seven months, China imported 34.92 million tonnes of soybeans, up 20.1 percent year on year.
Analysts expect China’s soybean imports to drop in coming months following a rebound in global food prices.
Chinese soybean refiners rely on imports for about 80 percent of their supplies, as foreign soybeans are much cheaper.
The U.S., the world’s largest exporter of soybeans, corn and wheat, has been struggling since mid-June with the most severe drought to hit the country in more than five decades. The drought has driven soybean and corn prices to record highs.
Prices for soybean contracts on the Chicago Board of Trade have jumped 30 percent since the beginning of June.
Although a substantial decline in imports is likely, China’s domestic soybean crushers will have enough supplies, as homegrown soybeans will be traded in the market starting from October and the government will release more reserves to ensure adequate supplies, the National Grain and Oil Information Center (NGOIC) said.
Chinese soybean importers may also turn to Brazil and Argentina for soybeans in the coming months, according to the NGOIC.
China’s soybean imports from the U.S. dropped below 700,000 tonnes in June.