China Soybean Imports Boom as Hog Population Recovers

Chinese soybean imports grew significantly during the first five months of 2021, which follows along with a recovery in the country’s domestic hog numbers. However, MSN says domestic demand for the crop looks more modest in the coming months because of rising soybean prices around the globe. China purchased 38.23 million tons of soybeans between January and May. The world’s biggest importer of soybeans spent $19.35 billion on the crop; 44 percent higher than the same period in 2020. As expected, the U.S. and Brazil were once again the top suppliers, with imports up from both countries during the same five months by almost 13 percent year-on-year. While the Phase One Trade Agreement with the U.S. has been one reason for the surge in imports, the recovery of China’s hog herd, devastated by African Swine Fever, is a key driver of the demand for soybeans. A senior animal protein analyst at Rabobank says the expectation of rapid hog restocking has been the key reason for strong imports but the food-service industry’s recovery from COVID-19 also supports Chinese imports. China’s spending on food imports, including grains and meat, is 33 percent higher than it was during the first five months of last year.