China’s soybean imports in April from top supplier Brazil rose 2.6% from a year earlier, customs data showed, as cargoes delayed by bad weather in the South American country began to arrive at ports.
China, the world’s top soybean buyer, brought in 5.939 million tonnes of the oilseed from Brazil in April, up from 5.786 million tonnes last year, according to General Administration of Customs data released late on Monday detailing the origin and destinations of commodity shipments.
April’s imports from Brazil were nearly triple March arrivals of 2.099 million tonnes, which were severely disrupted by heavy rains.
Previously published customs data showed China’s total soybean imports for the month fell 12% to 6.714 million tonnes from last year.
China’s soybean and soymeal inventories fell to historical lows as a result, forcing some crushers to curb production.
Supply shortages started to abate in the second half of April as more cargoes landed from Brazil.
Soybean arrivals in May, June and July are expected to top 9 million tonnes a month, well above normal levels with the bulk from Brazil, putting pressure on soymeal prices and crush margins.
China bought 665,591 tonnes of soybeans from the United States in April, its second-largest supplier of the oilseed, down 62% from 1.75 million tonnes in the same month a year earlier.
China booked U.S. soybean cargoes in several rounds of purchases – mostly for delivery in coming months – after the two countries signed a Phase 1 trade deal in January, under which Beijing pledged to step up buying of U.S. farm produce.
Beijing has urged state and private importers to boost supplies of major crops, including soybeans, to prepare for any further disruptions from the global coronavirus epidemic. The United States and Brazil are among the countries that have been hit hardest by the virus.