Strong demand from China’s recovering livestock industry boosted the country’s first quarter imports of soyabeans and grains, Reuters reported from customs data on 13 April.

Soyabeans imports almost doubled in March alone year-on-year, according to customs data, with cargoes of the crop from top exporter Brazil clearing customs following delays.

China imported 7.77M tonnes of the oilseed in March, up 82% from a year ago, according to data from the General Administration of Customs.

In the first three months of this year, China’s soyabean imports came in at 21.18M tonnes, up 19% from 17.79M tonnes last year.

Chinese crushers had previously stepped up soyabean purchases on good crushing margins as the market had anticipated healthy demand from the country’s fast-recovering pig farming sector, Reuters wrote.

However, a recent round of African swine fever outbreaks had wiped out at least 20% of the breeding herd in northern China, according to some estimates, curbing demand for soya meal, a major feed ingredient, Reuters said.