BEIJING, CHINA — China soybean imports in September declined by 13.5% from the previous month, according to customs data, as African swine fever continued to ravage the country’s pig herd, reducing the demand for soy meal.
China, the world’s largest consumer of soybeans, imported 8.2 million tonnes in September, down from 9.48 million tonnes in August, according to the General Administration of Customs.
Its soybean imports were still slightly higher than in September 2018 (8.01 million tonnes) as importers have recently increased purchases from Brazil on concerns about the U.S.-China trade war that has been ongoing since July 2018.
African swine flu caused China’s pig herd to shrink by 38.7% in August compared to the same month in 2018, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.
Some industry observers, including Rabobank, believe that number is closer to 50%.