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China's 2020-21 soybean imports to rise on swine recovery: USDA

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New Delhi — The continuing recovery in China's swine sector and poultry production growth are expected to push up soybean meal use for feed during 2020-21 marketing year (October-September), the US Department of Agriculture said in its attaché report released July 7.

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China's soybeans import in 2020-21 is forecast to touch 91 million mt, while estimated soy imports for 2019-20 marketing year seen at 90 million mt, the USDA added.

The forecasts for soybean meal use and soybean crush are both up significantly from the last report, due to increased feed demand from anticipated production growth in the swine and poultry sectors, the USDA said.

China lost over 50% of its swine population to the African swine fever epidemic, which started in August 2018. With quarantine measures and preventive culling of over 200 million pigs, the country's pig population has been on the path to recovery since late 2019.

In early June, China's agricultural ministry's data indicated the eight consecutive months of sow inventory expansion and four months of growth of the hog herd, with a net growth of 38 million hog heads between the end of 2019 and May 2020.

Soybean meal use in 2020-21 is forecast at 69.8 million mt and soy crush at 91 million mt, revised up nearly 5 million mt and 6 million mt respectively from the previous report, the agency added.

DOMESTIC SOY PRODUCTION

The Chinese government's early announcement of the soybean subsidy rate facilitated farmers' planting decisions in favor of increased soybean planting in 2020-21, the USDA attaché report said.

The forecast for China's soybean production in 2020-21 is up 0.7 million mt from the previous report to 18 million mt, based on acreage expansion driven by continued government subsidies and relatively high soybean prices in the first months of 2020, the USDA added.

While the Chinese industry sources forecast 2020-21 soybean production at 17.6 million mt, up from their estimate of 17 million mt for 2019-20, the attaché report said.

The soybean production area expectations in 2020-21 have been revised 0.4 million hectare higher than the last report at 9.5 million hectares, the USDA said.