China’s total soyabean imports in March 2020 dropped 13% year-on-year to the lowest level for the month since 2013, AgriCensus reported on 14 April.

The fall reflected a 6% contraction in soyabean crush during the month as factories closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Total soyabean imports by the world’s largest soyabean buyer had fallen to 4.28M tonnes in March 2020, down 13% from the same month of 2019, and nearly a third lower versus the February 2020 volume, data from China’s General Administration of Customs (GACC) showed.

However, the figure had fallen within the range of between 4.2M tonnes and 4.5M tonnes that had been forecast by analysts.

GACC data had shown that the March import volume was the lowest on record for March over the past seven years, and was the lowest recorded volume for any month since February 2015, during which China had imported an average of 7.33M tonnes.

Soyabean vessel landings during March 2020 had been slower than usual as a consequence of the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing crushers in various regions in China to halt operations due to a lack of soyabean supplies.

China had crushed a total of 6M tonnes in March this year, down nearly 6% from the same month last year, according to data from China’s National Grain and Oil Information Centre (CNGOIC).