China’s Soybean Imports May Jump to All-Time High on Stockpiling

China’s soybean imports in the five months ending this month may climb to a record on stockpiling as a cushion in case of export supply disruptions, Oil World said.

Chinese imports of soybeans may be 23.6 million tons for October through February, the Hamburg-based research company said in a report today. That’s up 1.5 million tons from a year earlier, it said. Imports by China, the world’s biggest buyer of the oilseed, will total 56.4 million tons for the year ended Sept. 30, up 7.8 percent from a year earlier, it said.

“The drought losses in South America are going to have some major consequences for the Chinese buying policy,” Oil World said. “With the growing supply risks, China will probably step up its soybean purchases in an effort to hold sufficiently large stocks as a cushion against potential supply disruptions in the major exporting countries later this year.”

Soybean futures have gained 2.7 percent this year as of yesterday because dry weather curbed prospects in South America. The price dropped 14 percent last year.

Chinese imports from Brazil jumped from 1.86 million tons to 5.65 million tons in the five-month period and purchases from Argentina gained 11 percent, according to the report. China will probably increase imports from the U.S. in March through August and again in the first half of the U.S. crop season from September through February 2013, Oil World said.

Brazil is expected to be the largest exporter of soybeans in the 2011-12 marketing year, followed by the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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