9-year low for China soybean imports
China's 2012-2013 soybean imports may fall for the first time in nine years, as bird flu worries and weak pork prices will likely reduce demand for animal feed, a government think tank said Tuesday.
Soybean imports in the year ending Sept. 30 are expected at 59 million metric tons, compared with actual imports of 59.24 million tons in 2011-12, the state-backed China National Grain & Oils Information Center said in a report.
The think tank earlier estimated China's 2012-13 soybean imports at 60 million tons, while the U.S. Department of Agriculture forecast imports at 63 million tons.
China's poultry production has been hit heavily by a deadly new strain of bird flu in eastern China. Meanwhile, hog producers are reluctant to replenish stocks as they are losing money from weak pork prices, reducing the demand for soymeal significantly, the CNGOIC said in a report.
Port congestion in Brazil delayed some soybean shipments to China, with first-quarter soybean imports are expected to reach 11.48 million tons, down from last year's 13.27 million tons, the CNGOIC said.
As port conditions improve in Brazil, China's soybean imports may rebound to 4.8 million tons in April from an estimated 3.8 million tons in March, while average monthly imports between May and September will hit about 5.7 million tons, it said.
Write to Zhoudong Shangguan at firstname.lastname@example.org
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
April 08, 2013 23:41 ET (03:41 GMT)