China’s soybean imports from Brazil in 2021 fell from the previous year, customs data showed on Thursday, as lower demand curbed purchases.
The world’s top soybean importer brought in 58.15 million tonnes of the oilseed from Brazil, down 9.5% from 64.28 million in 2020, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.
Crushers lured by high margins ramped up Brazilian imports in the early months of 2021 to process it into soymeal to feed the country’s pig herd that was rapidly recovering from being ravaged by a widespread African swine fever outbreak.
Crush margins plunged later, however, as hog margins fell, which reduced the appetite for soybeans.
Annual imports from the United States were 32.3 million tonnes in 2021, up 25% from 25.89 million tonnes in 2020, the data also showed.
Under a trade pact with the United States in 2019, China agreed to increase its imports of all agricultural products from the U.S. by $19.5 billion more than a baseline of $24 billion worth of imports in 2017.
China’s soybean imports in all of 2021 were 96.52 million tonnes, down 3.8% from 2020.
For December, China’s soy imports from the U.S. were 6.09 million tonnes, almost double compared to the previous month, customs data showed, as more cargoes arrived after earlier delays because of Hurricane Ida.
The figures were up 4% from the 5.84 million tonnes China bought from the U.S. a year earlier, according to the data.
Brazilian shipments in December were 2.12 million tonnes, up 80% from 1.18 million tonnes a year earlier, but down 43% from 3.75 million tonnes in November, the data showed.