Trade off: China soybean imports set for biggest drop in 12 years amid tariff conflict

(Reuters) – China’s soybean imports are set to drop by a quarter in the last three months of 2018, their biggest fall in at least 12 years as buyers curb purchases amid the Sino-U.S. trade war and high domestic stockpiles. Soybeans, crushed to make protein-rich animal feed ingredients and vegetable oils, have been at the heart of the tit-for-tat trade dispute between the world’s top two economies. China in July imposed a retaliatory 25-percent import duty on U.S. soybeans as part of the conflict, a saga that has gathered steam since then with the introduction of fresh tariffs on other products. Soybean imports by China, which buys 60 percent of the oilseed traded worldwide, will likely decline to around 18-20 million tonnes in the fourth quarter, compared with 24.1 million tonnes in the same period last year, traders said. “Imports will average around 6 million tonnes per month in the fourth quarter,” said a Singapore-based trader at an international company that owns oilseed processing plants in China. “Purchases are going to be mainly from Brazil and some from Argentina and Canada. Buyers are not willing to take chances by bringing in U.S. beans,” the trader added, declining to be identified… continue reading

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