A July 23 Chinese microblog posting provides a chronology of the soybean stockpiling policy from 2008 to the present. The estimates have been organized in the table below:
|Estimated purchases and sales
of Chinese soybean reserves
|1000 mt||RMB/mt||1000 mt|
Purchases are not always reported precisely and the microblogger has reported unofficial estimates for most years. The government also imported 2.5-3.5 mmt of soybeans to add to reserves in 2012--the microblogger estimates the total at 3.18 mmt. Auction sales are reported on a web site (the volume actually sold often is much less than the amount offered). During 2010, authorities held special sales of more than 2.6 mmt of soybeans to a handful of processing companies at a discount price of 3500 yuan. They held 25 auctions during 2012 which reportedly sold 3.758 mmt of reserve soybeans.
Cumulative purchases of soybeans from 2008 to July 2013 totaled 19.8 mmt, but only 8.5 mmt were sold. Purchases exceeded sales by 11.3 mmt. This is consistent with a report in Futures Daily that soybean reserves totaled 12 mmt in September 2012. It's also very close to USDA's current estimate of 2012/13 ending stocks of 11.6 mmt.
This level of soybean reserves is about 90 percent of China's annual soybean production, but only 15 percent of its consumption. The table above indicates that additions of imported soybeans replaced most of the reserves sold into the market over the past year.