Jan 15, 2019 08:15 PM

Chart of the Day: Trade War’s Toll on Soybean Imports

China’s soybean imports fell 7.8% to 88 million tons in 2018, the first annual drop since 2011.

China’s General Administration of Customs released data Monday showing the country’s soybean imports dropped by 7.5 million tons from a decadelong high of 95.6 million the previous year.

China is the biggest buyer of U.S. soybeans, which it uses mainly to manufacture oil or feed livestock. But purchasing ground to a near halt in July after China imposed punitive soybean import tariffs in retaliation for U.S. tariffs on imported Chinese goods.


Graphic: Gao Baiyu/Caixin

Imports were further depressed by an outbreak of African swine fever — which was first reported in August and spread to at least 24 provinces and provincial-level regions — which slashed demand for the animal feed ingredient, said (link in Chinese) a market analyst from state-owned China Grain Reserves Corp.

China resumed buying soybeans from the U.S. in December as the world’s two largest economies called a temporary truce in their trade war.

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