China, the largest soybean consumer, may import more than a forecasted 46 million metric tonnes of the oilseeds this year on increased demand for vegetable oil and animal feed and amid plunging soybean oil shipments, Bloomberg writes.
“The gain in China’s meat consumption is closely related to its GDP growth,” which is accelerating this year, Cao Zhi, director at the China National Grain & Oils Information Center, said at a conference in Beijing.
Soybean oil imports in 2009-2010 may tumble 40% to 1.5 million tonnes after the government banned shipments from Argentina, Cao said.
China last month halted soybean oil shipments from Argentina, the world’s biggest supplier, as part of a widening trade dispute.
The move was in response to Argentina’s anti- dumping investigations on Chinese goods ranging from steel pipes to textiles.
“There is a possibility that soybean imports in 2009-2010 could be more than 48 million tonnes,” said Henry Wang, head of Noble Group Ltd.’s China operations. Still, it will depend on the volume of loadings in July and August, Cao said.
The US Department of Agriculture this month raised its China import estimate for the marketing year through Sept. 30 to 46 million tons from 43.5 million in April, and predicted 49 million tons for 2010-2011.
China’s rising soybean arrivals in the rest of the marketing year may cause an oversupply situation, Wang said.
Some companies, concerned about the surging imports, are thinking about delaying shipments or even cancelling some cargoes, he said.