China soybean imports from US surge in March as Brazil temporarily halts import duties to curtail inflation

CHINA — China’s soybean imports from the United States in March increased 320% to 7.18 million tonnes as delivery from the world’s top soybean exporter Brazil delayed due to weather related interruptions.

As a result of the delays, occasioned mainly by rain, imports from Brazil dropped 85% in March to 315,334 tonnes from 2.1 million tonnes in the same month in 2020.

This, according to a report by Reuters, was the lowest monthly import total from Brazil since January 2017.

Darin Friedrichs, senior analyst at StoneX, told Reuters the high totals from the United States were in part due to “delays affecting the timing of when US shipments arrived. Some of the cargoes could have arrived earlier but didn’t actually get offloaded until March,” explained the senior analyst.

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Brazil to temporarily import duties on corn, soy

Meanwhile in Brazil, the ministry of Agriculture has postponed import duties on soy, corn, soybean meal and soybean oil until the end of 2021 in an effort to curtail inflation.

Previously, the Chamber of Foreign Commerce (Camex) had suspended the import tax of corn until March 31, 2021, and soybean until Jan. 15, 2021.

The hope for the previous exemption was to give rising global commodities prices to stabilize and the 2020-21 grain crop to rebalance supply in demand.

“However, international prices had an upward trend, putting even more pressure on domestic prices,” the ministry told Reuters adding that, “domestic prices continued to rise due to the strong external demand and the continued devaluation of the real against the dollar.”

Feed demand to boost Vietnam’s soybean crush

Crossing over to Vietnam,  the country’s hog and sow herds are recovering from African swine fever driving up demand for soybean meal.

As a result, total soybean crush and soybean meal for feed use is forecast to increase in 2021-22, according to a report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

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Crush is expected to reach 1.5 million tonnes while soybean meal for feed use is estimated at 6.1 million tonnes.

To cater for rising demand of soybean crush and meal, soybean imports are forecast up to reach 2.1 million tonnes in 2020-21 and 2.2 million tonnes in 2021-22, the USDA said.

Soybean meal imports also are expected to increase slightly to 5.2 million tonnes in 2021-22 with production from crushing plants offsetting a smaller increase in imports, the USDA said.

Food consumption is forecast to increase 4% in 2020-21 and 2021-22 with an expected recovery from COVID-19.

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