Market News & Headlines >> Continued Growth in China's Soy Imports

China’s soybean imports will continue to grow in 2016/17, but at a smaller pace, the U.S. agricultural attaché forecast, in a report released on Tuesday. 

The attaché forecast China’s 2016/17 imports at 84.5 million metric tons, an increase of 3.0% over USDA’s current official forecast for 2015/16 imports of 82 million tons, which represents an increase of 4.7% over 2014/15 imports of 78.35 million tons. 

Increasing domestic demand for meats, seafood, and vegetable oils are seen driving larger Chinese total oilseed consumption in 2016/17. “Additionally, expansion of the oilseed crushing sector, growth in the feed industry, and advancements in concentrated livestock and aquatic farming are collectively spurring demand and the need for imports,” the attaché said. 

Continued declines in China’s domestic oilseed production due to a combination of land constraints, policy challenges and stagnating yields are also seen supporting larger soybean imports. The attaché expects China’s soybean production to rise slightly in 2016/17, but projects smaller rapeseed and cottonseed output. He forecast total planted area for all oilseed crops will fall 2% in 2016/17, with China’s domestic oilseed production falling 2.1% to 52.7 million metric tons from an estimated 53.9 million tons this year. 

China’s imports of U.S. soybeans should rise slightly to 30 million metric tons in 2016/17, from 29.7 million tons this year despite “fierce competition from South American suppliers”, the attaché said. USDA expects China's imports of U.S. soybeans to be up 2.7 million tons during the current marketing year.