China's soybean imports dipped in August from the previous month, customs data showed, amid falling shipments from Brazil as the South American harvest starts to dry up.
China, the world's top soybean buyer, brought in 9.60 million tonnes of the oilseed in August, down 4.8% from 10.09 million tonnes in July, data from the General Administration of Customs shows.
The figures were up 1% from last year's 9.48 million tonnes, continuing a trend in the past few months, as Brazilian cargoes booked on good crush margins cleared customs.
"Soybean arrivals were expected to fall a little in the coming months as there would be fewer cargoes coming from Brazil," said Xie Huilan, analyst with agriculture consultancy Cofeed, before the data was released.
Chinese importers have booked large volumes of Brazilian soybeans due to good profits this year, and cargoes from the South American country have picked up since March as the weather there improved.
However, crushers were expected to turn to US beans in the fourth quarter as Brazilian beans dry up, and as Beijing pushes to step up purchases of US farm produce to fulfil the Phase 1 trade deal Beijing and Washington signed in January.
Large arrivals of beans have significantly pushed up soybean and soymeal inventories in China in recent months, with some crushers struggling with bulging stocks.
For the first eight months of the year, soybean imports were at 64.74 million tonnes, up 15% from the same period in 2019, customs data showed.
Imports of vegetable oils in August were 976,000 tonnes, up 2.1 percent from the previous month.