China’s Oilseed Imports Seen Rising by Oil World as Output Falls

China, the world’s largest soybean consumer, may see its oilseed harvest drop to a “multi-year low” in the next season, spurring an increase in imports as stockpiles decline, Oil World said.

Oilseed production may be 48 million metric tons in the 2013-14 season that starts Aug. 1, about 2 million tons less than a year earlier, the Hamburg-based researcher said in an e-mailed report today. Soybean imports in June were probably a record 8 million tons, 43 percent more than in the same month last year, with most shipments arriving from Brazil, according to the report.

Lower production “along with the comparatively low Chinese soybean stocks at the start of the new season will result in a pronounced increase of total Chinese oilseed imports,” Oil World said.

Soybean futures on the Chicago Board of Trade, the global benchmark, rallied to a record last September as drought in the U.S. followed dry weather in South America in the previous season. China consumes almost a third of the world’s soybean output, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show.

China’s purchases of rapeseed from January through May were a record 1.66 million tons, Oil World said. The country’s crop this year may be below 11.5 million tons, declining for a fourth straight season, it said.

Consumption of 12 major oilseed meals in China from October through May was little changed from a year earlier at 45.5 million tons, Oil World said. Soybean meal exports in the first five months of 2013 were 548,000 tons, more than double a year earlier, with shipments to South Korea, Japan and the European Union.

“Domestic consumption of oil meals fell short of expectations so far this season,” Oil World said. “There was even a decline from a year earlier in recent months as a result of the bird flu crisis.”

China’s imports of grain, including wheat, corn and barley, totaled 4.67 million tons from January through May, down 24 percent from a year earlier, Oil World said. Purchases may rebound during the rest of this year, it said.

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