BEIJING, CHINA — Despite an expected increase in demand, China’s soybean imports are anticipated to decrease in marketing year 2020-21, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“In market year 2019-20, China imported an excessive quantity of soybeans —pushing up stocks — in an effort to safeguard against anticipated COVID-related supply disruptions that did not fully materialize, as well as concerns about the US-China trade relationship,” the USDA said. “This trend is expected is reverse in the current marketing year, with China likely to begin drawing down stocks and to import less.”

The USDA forecasts China’s soybean imports to total 95 million tonnes in 2020-21 compared to the record high of 98.5 million tonnes that were imported in 2019-20.

The country’s 2020-21 soy crush is forecast at 95 million tonnes compared to 90 million tonnes in the 2019-20 season. The USDA also expects China’s soybean meal production to rise in 2020-21 to 73 million tonnes, an increase of 4 million tonnes over the 2019-20 estimate. 

China’s soybean production for 2020-21 is forecast at 18 million tonnes, a 1-million-tonne increase over the previous year due to expanded planting area, according the USDA.