China's August imports of soybeans from Brazil rose 22% from a year ago, customs data showed on Friday, as buyers increased their purchases to take advantage of higher margins earlier this year.
China, the world's top buyer of soybeans, brought in 8.15 million tonnes of the oilseed from Brazil in August, up from 6.68 million tonnes last year, data from the General Administration of customs showed.
Crushers ramped up buying from the South American country to meet strong demand for feed from the recovering pig raising industry.
Imports were down from 8.18 million tonnes in July. China imported 9.6 million tonnes of soybeans in all of August.
"Buyers booked a lot of Brazilian cargoes earlier when crush margins were good," a manager with a crusher in southern China said before the data came out.
"Now crush margins have fallen due to higher cost (of beans,)" said the manager, who declined to be named as he was not authorized to talk to the media.
Soybean arrivals in the coming months are expected to remain high, however, with more cargoes coming from the United States while Brazilian shipments slow, according to analysts and traders.
China brought in 166,370 tonnes of soybeans from the US in August, down 90% from last year's 1.68 million tonnes, and up from 38,333 tonnes in July.
National soybean inventories rose to 7.934 million tonnes by the week of Sept. 13, the highest since the week of Oct. 30, 2018, and more than double their record low in March, according to data from Cofeed.
China's national soybean meal inventories climbed to 1.27 million tonnes in the week of 30 August, the second-highest on record, before edging down this month.