China Soybean Imports Seen by Oil World Jumping 17% Next Season

China’s soybean imports, the world’s largest, may jump 17 percent in the next season as the country rebuilds stockpiles, Oil World said.

China may import 68 million metric tons of soybeans in the 2013-14 marketing year that begins Aug. 1, up from 58.2 million in the previous season, the Hamburg-based researcher said today in an e-mailed report. Soybean purchases will “start increasing sizably” from this month onward, it said. China’s soybean inventories on July 31 may drop to 8.2 million tons, down 30 percent from a year earlier, before rebounding to 9.5 million tons at the end of the 2013-14 season, according to the report.

“It must be one of the top priorities to replenish soybean stocks from the current very low level,” Oil World said. “Soybean imports will have to be raised to a high level not only during the remainder of this season but also next season.”

China’s soybean harvest in the 2013-14 season may total 11.9 million tons, the lowest in at least five years and down from 12.6 million tons the previous season, Oil World said.

Soybean prices rallied to a record $17.89 a bushel in September on the Chicago Board of Trade as U.S. crops were hurt by drought. Logistical problems in Brazil, set to overtake the U.S. as the world’s biggest exporter, have supported prices in recent months as shipments to importers including China were delayed.

Port Hours

Soybean exports from South America are accelerating as new regulations in Brazil extended working hours at major ports, Oil World said. The country’s shipments may top 8.3 million tons in May, a record monthly total, it said. Exports from four major South American shippers may climb to a record 42.2 million tons from April through August, including 29.2 million tons from Brazil.

Global soybean output in the 2012-13 season may be 265.67 million tons, up 11 percent from a year earlier, Oil World said. Brazil’s crop may be 81.51 million tons, while Argentina, the third-biggest exporter, produces 48.5 million tons. World soybean crushing in 2012-13 may be smaller than previously expected at 225.5 million tons, while stockpiles at the end of the season may exceed expectations at 61 million tons.

Shrinking U.S. supplies before the next harvest mean exports may total 3.4 million tons from April through August, 64 percent less than a year earlier, Oil World said. The country’s soybean crushing will drop 15 percent from a year earlier to 16.2 million tons. The U.S. probably will import 870,000 tons of soybeans in the 2012-13 season, with supplies coming from Canada and South America, according to the report.

“There is concern about a lack of soybeans in July and August” in the U.S., Oil World said. “Soybean exports and crushings are currently plummeting.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Whitney McFerron in London at wmcferron1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net

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