Soyabean imports by China increased to a record level of 100M tonnes in the 2022/23 marketing year, according to latest forecasts by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Imports were expected to remain high in the last quarter of the year as the world’s top buyer sourced soyabeans from South America as well as clearing the customs backlog of cargoes that had already arrived, the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service(FAS) Oilseeds: World Markets and Trade report said.

In the first 10 months of the current marketing year – which runs from October 2022-September 2023 – China has already imported almost 84.5M tonnes of soyabeans, with just under 30M tonnes sourced from the USA, according to the August report.

Total arrivals to date were 10% higher compared to the same period last year, with the USA representing about 40% of that growth, the report said.

Shipments from the USA trailed off in April as Chinese buyers took advantage of a bumper Brazilian soyabean crop and attractive prices. Smaller suppliers of soyabeans to China have also increased their exports,” the USDA said.

“The ‘soya dollar’ programme in Argentina contributed to recovery in shipments in the first half of 2022/23. Canada and Russia also increased exports to China this year on higher soyabean production and relatively flat crush.”

In 2023/24, China was projected to remain the world’s largest soyabean buyer with imports forecast at 99M tonnes.

“China is likely to continue buying larger volumes of soyabeans from Brazil and potentially less from the USA. Prices of the new US crop have been rising on lower supply expectations, while Brazil output prospects remain robust,” the USDA said.