China’s soybean imports in 2021-22 marketing year (October-September) is likely to exceed 110 million mt, hitting an all-time high, on sharper-than-expected hog and sow herd recovery from the African swine fever, according to S&P Global Platts Analytics.
Even for 2020-21 marketing year, China’s soybeans import is expected to eclipse the US Department of Agriculture’s forecast of 100 million mt, according to China-based analysts.
Some China-based analysts also noted China’s soybean imports in calendar 2020 were estimated at 100.33 million mt, even though the country’s swine inventory is less than 100%.
China’s swine herd recovery was seen at 90% of the pre-ASF level as of Nov. 30, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, or MARA.
If the current swine growth trend continues, backed by a steady process of pork industry consolidation and biosecurity measures, China’s hog production capacity is likely to reach 100% of pre-ASF level in June 2021, MARA added.
The world’s largest pork producer and consumer lost over 50% of its swine population to ASF, which emerged in August 2018. Following large-scale quarantine measures, over 200 million pigs were culled, leading to massive shortage of pork in the country.
China’s pig farming sector has witnessed a rapid consolidation since late 2019 as small-scale farms were amalgamated into big entities under a government directive, a Beijing-based consultancy said.
November hog stocks rose 29.8% year on year and the inventory of farrowing sows went up 31.2% on the year, the latest MARA data showed, thereby boosting pork supplies.
China is heavily dependent on soybean imports as it processes over 80% of shipped beans into animal feed.
Rising soybeans demand in China is expected to support bean futures prices further, which breached $14/bu benchmark on Jan. 12 for the first time since 2013, analysts said.
Chicago Board of Trade’s March soybean futures contract were trading at $13.7800/bu at 0711 GMT Jan. 21.