China Expected to Increasingly Rely on the US as Imports Grow Sharply

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China’s imports of corn and soybeans surged in September. But to continue meeting China’s growing demand for imports going forward, the country is expected to increasingly rely on the US, as other traditional suppliers Brazil and Ukraine suffer production setbacks. 

China’s customs ministry reported 1.08 million tonnes of corn was imported from all origins in September, a 6% increase from the previous month, and more than seven times the level of September 2019. The United States represented 78% of China’s September corn imports, while Ukraine shipped 18%. The remaining imports were sourced from Russia, Laos, and Myanmar. China’s year-to-date corn imports total 6.672 million tonnes, an 73% increase from the same period last year.

China imported 9.79 million tonnes of soybeans in September, a 2% increase from the previous month and 19% jump from September 2019. Year-to-date imports are up 15% from last year. Brazil continues to represent the majority of China’s soybean imports, as the South American country shipped 51% more soybeans to China in September 2020 than a year earlier. 

China’s reliance on US imports is expected to increase. Brazil’s exportable supply of soybeans is tight and severe drought, brought on by a La Niña climate event, has gotten Brazil’s new soybean season off to a late start. Ukraine, a traditional big supplier of corn to China, also is experiencing drought. Further deterioration in global crop prospects would result in increased exports from the US and alter spring planting decisions for 2021. The upcoming acreage battle between corn and soybeans in the United States could be hard fought.

Gro has Chinese customs data for about 100 different agricultural commodities and products, including soft commodities, oilseeds, grains, livestock, produce, feed supplements, and agricultural inputs. The customs data, available on the Gro platform to select API clients, provides an early indication of likely revisions to USDA estimates of Chinese trade and consumption. The data is also a key component of any attempt to build a complete picture of global agricultural markets. 

Click here to view Chinese customs data on Gro

This insight was powered by the Gro platform, which enables better and faster decisions about factors affecting the entire global agricultural ecosystem. Gro organizes over 40,000 datasets from sources around the world into a unified ontology, which allows users to derive valuable insights such as this one. You can explore the data available on Gro with a free account, or please get in touch if you would like to learn more about a specific crop, region, or business issue.

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