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China's 2020 soybean imports to rise - ag ministry official

BEIJING, Jan 15 (Reuters) -

* China's soybean imports in 2020 will rise to some extent, an agriculture ministry official said on Wednesday, without providing specifics

* Soybean shipments from the United States in 2019 fell following the China-U.S. trade dispute, while imports from Brazil and other countries rose, and supplies were guaranteed, said Tang Ke, director of the market and information department at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs

* China bought 88.51 million tonnes of soybeans in 2019, up from 88.03 million tonnes in 2018, but down 7% from 95.53 million tonnes in 2017 before the trade war broke

* China's soybean demand was also curbed by the African swine fever disease, which has slashed the country's pig herd by more than 40%

* Beijing has issued a series of measures to boost pig production and increase supplies of pork, the country's favourite meat

* Pork prices were not expected to further rise ahead of China's Spring Festival holiday, a peak demand season for the pork, as more pigs will be sent to slaughterhouses, while imported pork and pork from reserves is being released to the market, said another official from the ministry

* Pork consumption after Spring Festival holiday is set to drop, and supply and demand of the meat will be stable around the holiday, Wang Junxun, an official at the ministry's Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Bureau, told reporters (Reporting by Hallie Gu and Shivani Singh, editing by Louise Heavens)

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