China’s November soybean imports from U.S. surge one year after trade deal

BEIJING, Dec 25 (Reuters) - Chinese imports of U.S. soybeans in November more than doubled from the previous year, customs data showed on Friday, as cargoes booked following a Phase 1 trade deal between the United States and China arrived in the country.

The world’s top buyer of soybeans brought in 6.04 million tonnes of the oilseed from the United States in November, up 136% from 2.56 million tonnes a year ago, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.

Chinese buyers stepped up purchases of U.S. farm products earlier this year, partly to fulfill commitments made in the January deal aimed at tempering a trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

The November shipments were also up from 3.4 million tonnes in October, when U.S. soybeans started to dominate the market in the fourth quarter.

In the first 11 months of the year, China imported 20.05 million tonnes of U.S. soybeans, up 45% from 13.85 million tonnes the previous year.

It also bought 2.74 million tonnes of Brazilian beans in November, down 29% from 3.86 million tonnes a year earlier, and also a fall from 4.23 million tonnes in October with the South American country’s soybean season coming to a close.

Brazilian shipments during Jan-Nov came in at 63.1 million tonnes, up 19% from 52.84 million tonnes last year.

“Supplies (of soybeans) will be ample while demand will also be strong in the fourth quarter this year and going into the first quarter,” said a trader with a major trading house, citing healthy demand from the steadily recovering pig herd and robust consumption of soybean oil.

Chinese crushers snapped up Brazilian soybeans earlier this year as they sought to benefit from attractive crush margins.

Crush margins fell in November as U.S. soybean prices rose, and amid concerns about weather in Brazil, forcing some importers to washout American cargoes.

Margins <CNSOY-RZO-MRG> have picked up again, however, as demand for soymeal from the livestock sector and soyoil consumption were boosted ahead of new year holidays, a time of peak demand for both meat and cooking oil.

China imported 9.59 million tonnes of soybeans in November, up 15.8% on the year. (Reporting by Dominique Patton and Hallie Gu. Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan, Kirsten Donovan.)

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