Asian Buyers' Soybean Imports Seen Surging by Oil World

Imports of soybeans and soybean meal have surged from some of Asia’s largest buyers, signaling demand hasn’t slowed as prices rallied, Oil World said.

China, Japan, South Korea and Thailand imported 17.401 million metric tons of soybeans from April to June, 21 percent more than in the same period a year earlier, the Hamburg-based researcher said today in an e-mailed report. Imports of soybean meal, used in livestock feed, jumped 7.7 percent in the three-month period, to 1.604 million tons.

“The latest import statistics for June do not yet reveal any signs of rationing,” Oil World said. “It is interesting to see that the four Asian countries sharply raised imports of soybeans and soya meal from Brazil in April/June. But this cannot be sustained. In fact, we expect this trend to be reversed, due to a lack of South American supplies.”

Global benchmark soybean prices have surged 20 percent in the past year on the Chicago Board of Trade after drought cut production in South America last year while dry weather in the U.S. is threatening currently developing crops. The U.S. is the world’s largest soybean exporter, followed by Brazil, and China is the world’s biggest consumer.

China, Japan, South Korea and Thailand purchased 11.533 million tons of soybeans from Brazil from April to June, representing two-thirds of their total imports, while most of the remainder came from the U.S. and Argentina, Oil World said. During the same time period a year earlier, Brazil’s soybean shipments to the four countries were 8.014 million tons, according to the report.

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