Thursday, May 16, 2013

RTRS - China 2013 and 2014 soy imports to hit record, rise 11.9 pct -think-tank

BEIJING, May 15 (Reuters) - China, the world's top soy buyer, is forecast to import a record 66 million tonnes of the oilseed in 2013/14 due to robust domestic demand and low stocks, an official think-tank said.

That is 11.9 percent higher than estimated imports for the current marketing year, ending in September, the China National Grain and Oils Information Center said on Wednesday.

But the figure is 3 million tonnes lower than predictions by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which put China's soy imports at 69 million tonnes in the next marketing year - two thirds of the world total. 

China's soy imports in the current year are likely to fall by 230,000 tonnes from the previous year due to a reduction in global supplies, while port congestion in Brazil, the world' second largest exporter, has also delayed some shipments, it said.

The center does not expect any major impact on demand from outbreaks of bird flu that have already killed 35.

Current soy stocks at ports have fallen below 4 million tonnes, their weakest since 2010, following low imports in the first four months of the year, it said.

Demand for soymeal, the major ingredient for animal feed production, was also projected to rise 7.1 percent on the year in 2013/14 to 52.4 million tonnes. Chinese soy plants need about 5 million tonnes of soy every month.

The center also expects China to import 1.1 million tonnes of soyoil in 2013/14 and 3 million tonnes of rapeseed. It did not give comparative figures.

Rapeseed oil imports in 2013/14 were seen at 1.3 million tonnes.