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China Importing a Lot of Soybeans in 2023

A University of Illinois FarmDoc report says China’s soybean imports are likely to stay high through the fourth quarter of this year, taking 2023 purchases to an all-time record.

However, lackluster demand from hog farms is seen as reducing soybean purchases in early 2024. Traders and industry analysts say record Brazilian soybean supplies are expected to dominate China’s imports in the last three months of this year, citing better oil and meal quality. That will reduce demand for U.S. cargoes in the world’s biggest market for the oilseed. The larger share of Brazilian soybeans in China’s import basket is likely to add pressure on benchmark Chicago futures, which slumped almost 15 percent this year, snapping a four-year rally.

The report says, “Typically, freshly harvested U.S. soybeans dominate the global export market after September as Brazil’s export season winds down.” But this year, China’s purchases from the U.S. are well below normal.

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