China’s state-owned grain stockpiler Sinograin has released 500,000 tonnes of national soyabean reserves to COFCO amid low stock levels and weak imports in March, trade sources told Agricensus on 7 April.

This was the second half of the 1M tonne volume that Sinograin had previously assigned this year to COFCO, the country’s largest food processor, three China-based soyabean traders told Agricensus.

The move was taken at a time when commercial soyabean stock had reached a near record low of 2M tonnes at the end of March, with imports during the month expected to fall about 15% year-on-year.

“It is probably that they are worried about shipment delays in Brazil so that they want to use reserves,” one soyabean trading manager at an international trading house was reported by Agricensus as saying.

The 500,000 tonne reserve would be given to COFCO this month, sources told Agricensus.

A number of small-to-medium oilseed crushers in China had faced supply shortages since mid-March due to logistics disruptions caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Many had been forced to shut facilities to avoid overhead costs.