China’s soybean imports and soybean meal consumption are expected to fall to 85 million tonnes in 2018, a 10% decline from 94 million tonnes in 2017, due to ongoing trade tensions and an outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF).
China is trying to reduce US soybean imports and slash soybean feed use through reductions in the feed protein ratio and the use of substitute protein meals.
This year has seen higher than usual sales from the state soybean reserve, with Beijing organizing 19 auctions of 1.92 million metric tonnes (MMT) of soybeans as of Oct 24.
China’s domestic soybean and soybean meal prices have been rising steadily since July 2018 with a sharp increase in October.
An ASF outbreak in China that began in August and continues to spread is likely to lead to reduced herds over the longer term, thus curbing feed demand growth.
Despite increased government subsidies to producers aimed at expanding soybean acreage, 2018 domestic oilseed production increased only 0.2% over the previous year, to an estimated 58.95 million tonnes.