BEIJING, CHINA — China’s soybean imports reached an annual record in 2020, increasing 13% as crushing margins improved and demand from the pig sector increased, Reuters reported.

China purchased 100.33 million tonnes of soybeans in 2020, up from 88.51 million tonnes, according to the General Administration of Customs.

In December, imports totaled 7.524 million tonnes, down 27% from 9.54 million tonnes a year ago and down from 9.59 million tonnes in November.

“December soy imports were lower than expected, probably due to shipping delays,” Xie Huilan, analyst with agriculture consultancy Cofeed, told Reuters.

China is rebuilding its pig herd, which had been decimated by African swine fever.

Demand is expected to remain high in 2021, with another new record expected.

China’s 2020 US soybean imports were up 56.3% from a year earlier in yuan terms, the country’s customs spokesman said.