Wednesday, July 4, 2018

China Grain/Soy Imports Surged as Trade Tensions Rose

China's grain imports rose to over 3 million metric tons in May 2018 as trade tensions with the U.S. heated up. China is set to assess 25-percent retaliatory tariffs on imports of grains and soybeans from the United States as of July 6.

Grain and Oils News article reported robust China grain imports during April and May. The combined volume of rice, wheat, corn, sorghum, and barley imports reached 3.1 mmt in May, up from 2.9 mmt in April and about 2 mmt during January and March. Imports were 1.5 mmt during February which included the Chinese New Year. The cumulative imports of rice, wheat, corn, sorghum, and barley totaled 11.5 mmt for January-May, up from 10.9 mmt during the same months a year earlier despite the rise in trade tensions.

Barley imports have been consistently strong. China recorded 640,000 mt of sorghum imports during April when China announced a 179-percent antidumping duty (it was terminated May 18). Intrepid buyers imported 470,000 mt of sorghum in May. Corn (760,000 mt), wheat (630,000 mt), and rice (480,000 mt) imports all surged during May. China's imports of soybeans also surged to 9.7 mmt during May 2018.

According to Grain and Oils News, the average unit value of imported corn during May was 1,337 yuan/mt, 463 yuan less than the average domestic corn price of 1800 yuan/mt. A year ago, domestic and imported corn prices were nearly equal. Worries about domestic wheat quality due to wet weather in May and June increased premiums for high quality wheat and may boost demand for imports.

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