China’s Soybean Imports Seen Rising 4.2% by Oil World

China’s soybean imports are forecast to climb 4.2 percent in the year through September, with U.S. exports to the country little changed from the previous year, researcher Oil World said.

China may purchase 61.7 million metric tons of the oilseed in 2012-13 from 59.2 million tons a year earlier, the Hamburg-based researcher wrote in an e-mailed report.

The country, the world’s biggest buyer of the commodity, canceled 840,000 tons of purchases from the U.S. last week, prompting futures of the oilseed traded in Chicago to slide 4.2 percent in the period.

“China cancels U.S. soybeans but still strongly depends on U.S. exports until March,” Oil World wrote. “It can indeed be argued that China cannot cover its import requirements if the canceled orders are not at least replaced or even supplemented with additional purchases.”

The U.S. may ship 23 million tons of soybeans to China in 2012-13, similar to the 23.1 million tons sold the previous year, according to Oil World.

China is predicted to import 19.8 million tons of soybeans from the U.S. in the six months through March compared with 16.6 million tons in the year-earlier October to March period as late planting delays harvests in South America, Oil World said.

Shipments from Brazil to China in the same period are predicted to fall to 2.2 million tons from 6.7 million tons, while those from Argentina are seen dropping to 1.7 million tons from 4.3 million tons, according to the researcher.

Soybean Exports

In the April-to-September period, soybean exports to China from the U.S. are predicted to drop to 3.2 million tons from 6.4 million tons, Oil world wrote.

Soybean sales from Argentina may climb to 8.4 million tons from 3.6 million tons in the six months through September and Brazil’s soybean exports to China will rise to 22.6 million tons from 19.8 million tons, based on Oil World’s outlook.

“It would be risky for Chinese buyers to fully rely on these quantities, given the still manifold uncertainties regarding the crop sizes, particularly in the flooded Argentine areas,” the researcher said.

Rainfall in parts of Argentina in the first three weeks of December was three to four times normal, causing additional flooding and damaging winter wheat as well as recently planted summer crops, including corn and soybeans, Oil World wrote.

“More and more local observers warn that soybean production could turn out at or below 50 million tons in early 2013,” Oil World wrote.

(Corrects headline to imports in story published Dec. 25.)
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