BEIJING, CHINA — Soaring prices and a supply crunch in China led the world’s largest grain importer to more than double its corn imports in 2021, Reuters reported, citing General Administration of Customs data released Jan. 18.

China, the world’s top grains market, brought in 28.35 million tonnes of corn in all of 2021, up 152% from an annual record figure of 11.3 million tonnes in 2020, the data showed. Imports of wheat  in 2021 also hit a record at 9.77 million tonnes and were up 16.6% from 8.38 million tonnes in 2020.

In 2021, China also imported 12.48 million tonnes of barley, up 54.5% from the previous year, and 9.42 million tonnes of sorghum, up 95.6%.

With China paring back its huge temporary stockpiles of corn and bad weather smacking important production regions, prices of corn hit record highs in 2021, Reuters noted. Buyers reached for overseas markets and imported corn and wheat to plug the domestic supply gap.

Imports slowed down in December as a bigger corn crop brought down domestic prices. China imported 1.33 million tonnes of corn in December, down 39.9% from the previous year, customs data showed.