China Ramps Up U.S. Soybean Purchases to Make Up for Low Stocks

China, the world’s largest soybean consumer, is accelerating American soybean purchases to supplement inadequate domestic supply, Oil World said.

China bought a combined total of 330,000 metric tons of soybeans on Aug. 6 and 7, to add to its record at the start of August of 11.7 million tons, 1.7 million tons more than a year earlier, the Hamburg-based researcher said in an e-mailed report today.

China is predicted to increase imports of the oilseed by 8 million to 10 million tons in the 2013-14 season to compensate for low stockpiles, Oil World said. Soybean prices on the Chicago Board of Trade have dropped about 13 percent this year.

“Current total Chinese soybean stocks are still down by at least 3-3.5 million tons from a year ago, despite the recent sizable year-on-year increase in monthly imports,” Oil World said. “This year’s Chinese soybean crop will continue to decline, probably reaching the lowest in more than 20 years.”

Chinese soybean imports increased to a record 7.2 million tons in July, Oil World said. That’s 23 percent more than a year earlier and includes a correction of the underreported 6.93 million tons in June, according to the report.

India’s soybean crop is “in trouble” after heavy rains caused damage in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, the two major producing regions, according to Oil World. Original crop predictions of 12 million to 13.5 million tons for this year’s yield may decline, following the poor weather in late July and early August.

“Further developments will be watched closely,” Oil World said. “It will determine the timing and magnitude of the Indian soybean crushings as well as of soya meal production and export supplies, which are expected to increase sharply from October onward.”

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