CHINA – China’s grain imports in December continued to drop as a result of the increasing disputes between traders and grain exporters who mostly hail in the United States.
According to a Reuters report, imports of livestock feed grains, sorghum and barley declined, reflecting the impact of the trade dispute between the world’s top economies.
Data from the General Administration of Customs showed that China did not buy any sorghum in December, compared to 160,000 tonnes bought in the previous year.
China unveiled an anti-subsidy probe into Australian barley imports, ramping up pressure on suppliers and increasing uncertainty in the market.
As per last year, China took over as world’s top buyer of sorghum, most of which came from the US, but this is set to change especially after Beijing slapped a 25% duty on sorghum imports from the United States on July 6.
This was in retaliation to US administration’s policy to protect its industries and economies.
The United States is the world’s top exporter of the grain, and accounted for 94% of China’s imports in 2017.
However, China’s imports for 2018 fell to 3.65 million tonnes, down 27.8 % on the year, according to Reuters.
The customs data showed China’s corn imports in December came to 420,000 tonnes, down 8.2% from the same month of 2017 while full-year imports were up 24.7% at 3.52 million tonnes.
Wheat imports in December were up 14% from a year earlier at 240,000 million tonnes, but 2018 shipments were down 29.9% at 3.1 million tonnes.
In December, imports of barley, used in both brewing and animal feed, fell to 140,000 tonnes, down 75.4% in the same comparable period the year before.
This could be attributed to the effects of anti-dumping probe launched by China into Australian barley imports.
Australia is China’s biggest customer for barley, having imported US$1.8 billion worth of Australian barley in 2017.
Later in December, China unveiled an anti-subsidy probe into Australian barley imports, ramping up pressure on suppliers and increasing uncertainty in the market.
This was blamed on political matters especially after Australia revealed closer ties with the US, China’s trade ‘enemy’.
Total barley imports came to 6.82 million tonnes in 2018, down 23.1% with Australia accounting for three-quarters of the imports.