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327696

UPDATE 2-China's April soybean imports rise after delayed cargo arrivals

(Adds analyst comments; paragraph 3)

BEIJING, May 9 (Reuters) - China's soybean imports in April climbed from a month ago, helped by the arrival of cargoes delayed by poor weather and slow harvests in South America, customs data showed on Monday.

The world's top soybean importer brought in 8.08 million tonnes of the oilseed in April, up 27% from 6.35 million in March, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.

The figures were also up from 7.45 million tonnes in the same month a year earlier.

"Delayed Brazilian soybean cargoes gradually arrived and China's soybean imports in May were expected to keep climbing and hit around 9.4 million tonnes," said Zou Honglin, an analyst with the agriculture section of Mysteel, a consultancy based in China.

In the first four months of the year, China imported 28.36 million tonnes of soybeans, down 0.8% from 28.59 million in the previous year, according to the data.

Bad weather in Brazil delayed harvest and exports from China's top soybean supplier, causing lower arrivals in the earlier months of the year.

Soymeal prices in China had soared to record highs as supplies of bean and meal tightened, but came down as more cargoes arrived.

Chinese crushers bring in soybeans to make soymeal for feed for the massive livestock sector and to produce cooking oil.

China is expected to need 7 million to 8 million tonnes of soybeans each month through August, traders said.

While demand in May was mostly covered, Chinese crushers were slow to buy soybeans for June-August shipments as poor crush margins curbed appetite, Reuters reported in April.

Importers have since booked more Brazilian soybean cargoes for shipment in coming months, traders said.

Hog margins in China have recently recovered from the record lows of March, thanks to rising pork prices, which in turn supported soy crush margins. <JCI-HOGM-SICH><JCI-HOGM-HENAN> (Reporting by Hallie Gu and Dominique Patton; Editing by Tom Hogue and Clarence Fernandez)

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