China's corn, wheat imports in 2020 reach record highs

BEIJING, Jan 18 (Reuters) - China's grains imports soared to record highs in 2020, customs data showed on Monday, after tight domestic corn supplies pushed prices to multi-year peaks, driving demand for cheaper imports.

China, the world's top agricultural market, bought a record 11.3 million tonnes of imported corn last year, according to General Administration of Customs data, exceeding the annual quota, which was set at 7.2 million tonnes, for the first time.

It also imported a record 8.38 million tonnes of wheat, against a quota of 9.64 million tonnes.

In 2019, China only used 67% of its annual quota for corn and one-third of its quota for wheat.

China has accelerated buying of global grains in the past year due to healthy demand from a recovering pig sector, and a domestic shortfall in corn supplies.

Data on soybean imports was released earlier this month.

Commodity Dec 2020 % change YTD % change (tonnes) y/y* (tonnes) y/y* Corn 2.25 mln 207 11.3 mln 135.7 Wheat 880,000 77.5 8.38 mln 140.2 Barley 980,000 309.8 8.08 mln 36.3 Sorghum 550,000 1,358.7 4.81 mln 478.6 Pork 440,000 63.1 4.39 mln 108.3 Sugar 910,000 324.7 5.27 mln 55.5

(Reporting by Hallie Gu and Tom Daly; Editing by Edmund Blair)

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