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China's soybean imports lowered

04/26/2013 @ 8:36am

The London-based International Grains Council Friday lowered its forecast for China's soybean imports in the current marketing year due to the outbreak of bird flu.

Imports in the year ending September 30, for which the IGC has reduced its forecast by 2 million metric tons to 59 million tons, may still be higher compared with actual purchases from overseas of 57.1 million tons in 2011-12, the council said. Growth in China's soybean imports, which averaged 16% in the last five years, will slow to 3.3% in 2012-13, it said.

The bird-flu outbreak in China has led to the culling of thousands of poultry and raised prospects for reduced demand.

Soybeans are crushed to extract soymeal that is used in animal feed. China is the world's largest importer of soybeans, with a more than 60% share of global trade securing the commodity from the U.S. and South America.

China's soybean imports fell 9% in the six months through March, according to government estimates. Traders said this was mainly due to acute port congestion in Brazil that delayed shipments which have spilled over to the second quarter.

"Bird flu will reflect in demand during the second half of the year because China has mostly covered its soybean import requirements until June," said Freddy Pranteda, director at Cosur SA, a major South American brokerage for grains and oilseeds.

The IGC cut its forecast for China's soybean consumption in 2012-13 by 800,000 tons to 75.3 million tons but said if realized, it will still be a record-high.

Write to Sameer C. Mohindru at sameer.mohindru@dowjones.com

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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 26, 2013 07:54 ET (11:54 GMT)

DJ IGC Lowers China's 2012-13 Soybean Import Forecast on Bird Flu->copyright

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