Brazil has played a dominant role in keeping China supplied with soybeans. China's October ag imports from Brazil doubled from a year ago. The $1.65-billion year-on-year boost in purchases from Brazil was also twice as much as the year-on-year drop in imports from the United States. Brazil was, by far, the largest supplier of China's imported agricultural products. China imported more from a number of other countries, but none came near to matching the increase in purchases from Brazil.
|China agricultural* imports, October 2018|
|*Agricultural = Harmonized System 01-24, 41, 52|
|China's top agricultural imports during October|
|Total HS 01-24,41,52||9,296||10,888||1,592|
|12 Oilseeds, alfalfa||2,706||3,376||670|
|03 Fish and shellfish||719||1,086||367|
|02 Meat and offal||734||846||112|
|15 Fats and oils||676||681||5|
|19 Prep. cereals, milk; pastry||540||654||114|
|08 Fruit and nuts||355||488||133|
|22 Beverages, spirits||413||477||64|
|41 Hides and skins||409||360||-49|
|04 Dairy and honey||349||356||7|
|21 Misc. ed. preparations||262||334||71|
|23 Food ind. Waste and feeds||218||311||93|
|10 Cereal grains||470||300||-171|
The share of China's agricultural imports obtained from the United States shrank from about one-fourth in January and February this year to just 5 percent in October. There was a noticeable drop in U.S. share in July when China's retaliatory tariffs took effect. The drop occurred in May for meats because meat tariffs were introduced in April and boosted again in July. The U.S. share of China's oilseed and meat imports was down to 2 percent in October. China's grain imports from all countries have dropped, and imports of U.S. grain were negligible in August and October.
|Share of China's agricultural imports that came from the United States, 2018|
|Month||All agricultural||Oilseeds||Fish & shellfish||Meat||Fruit & nuts||Cotton||Grains|
Brazil has almost single-handedly kept China supplied with soybeans. China imported 6.9 mmt of soybeans during October, ahead of the pace a year ago. Brazil remains the predominant supplier of China's soybeans despite nearing the end of its marketing season. Brazil supplied 85 percent of China's oilseed imports during October and Oilseeds accounted for 85 percent of China's ag imports from Brazil. Yet the prices China paid for soybeans were up only slightly. Brazil's customs data shows that the average prices of soybeans exported to China have been relatively flat, at about $400 per metric ton. China's import price reported by its customs data was up slightly, to $435/mt during October. U.S. soybean export prices calculated from U.S. customs data fell about 12 percent below the average Brazilian export price.