China’s October soybean imports dropped over 41 percent lower than the same time a year ago, hitting the lowest level since March 2020. Reuters says poor crush margins curbed demand and Hurricane Ida limited U.S. shipments. The world’s biggest soybean buyer purchased 5.1 million tons of the commodity in October, compared to 8.69 million tons last year. Chinese imports also dropped from 6.8 million tons in September.
In the first ten months of 2021, China bought 79.08 million tons of soybeans. China’s crushers increased their purchase earlier this year because of possible strong demand from a rapidly recovering pig herd. But demand recently dropped after pig supplies outpaced the demand, leading to plunging prices and wiping out farmers’ profits. Prices did pick up a bit in October after farmers were hit with heavy losses during the summer. Crush margins were low as recently as early September after hitting a record low in June. Margins began to improve later in September because of declining inventories.
The U.S. was also hit with shipping issues as Hurricane Ida hit the Gulf Coast in early September, damaging at least three of the near dozen export terminals located along the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and the Gulf of Mexico.