BEIJING — China’s June soybean imports fell 23% from a year earlier to 8.25 million tonnes, as high global prices curbed appetite for the oilseed, customs data showed on Wednesday.
Soybean prices have surged this year after bad weather hurt production and exports in Brazil, China’s top supplier, while demand from the world’s top buyer is also significantly weaker than a year ago.
“You cannot compare this year and last year. The situation has totally changed,” said a China-based soybean trader who declined to be identified.
Last month’s imports were also lower than May’s 9.67 million tonnes, the data from the General Administration of Customs showed.
Crush margins in China have been negative since mid-April, with crushers in Rizhao in the key northern soybean processing hub of Shandong now losing 692 yuan ($103) on each tonne of oilseed processed.
China brought in 46.28 million tonnes of the oilseed in the first six months of 2022, down 5.4% from the corresponding period a year ago, the data showed.
Soybean buyers crush beans to make soymeal for animal feed and soyoil for cooking. ($1=6.7172 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Dominique Patton; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Clarence Fernandez)